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Bye, Bye, Birdies

Well, the decision finally was announced today. I knew it was coming, I just didn’t want to believe it. I was holding onto some hope that the USGA and R&A might change their minds. But alas, R.I.P. to my belly putter. To those interested, funeral arrangements have been made and a beautiful ceremony will be held just outside my bedroom closet, where the putter will be laid to his eternal rest.

Yes, we’ve had some good times, me and “Belly Baroo.” (Yes, we got so close I even named the big fella.) He taught me how to be confident around 5-foot putts. He showed me what it meant to not fear three-putting. And most importantly, he instilled in me a repeatable stroke.

I had the chance to use a belly putter for almost a year. My first round was a “love at first sight” type deal. Playing the Magnolia Course at Disney just outside Orlando, I wielded my belly putter like Thor wields Mjölnir, needing only 24 putts in a 5-under 67. I was hooked. We had some ups and downs in the next couple of months, but then I got my first chance to play in a tournament with it. I played the Eastern Amateur in Portsmouth, Va., my first tourney in more than three years. I played brilliantly and putted even better, posting rounds of 67-66-68-73 to finish T13. Biggest stat of the week: My first three-putt didn’t come until the 71st hole, a first in my golfing career.

Will I miss my belly putter? Certainly. Will I move on from the separation? Most definitely. And so will everyone else.


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