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Don't ban bellies says Bernhard Langer

Belly putters are definitely the hot topic in golf this week.

Ernie Els became the third major champion using a long putter at the 2012 Open Championship at Royal Lytham on the weekend, after Keegan Bradley at the 2011 PGA Championship and Webb Simpson at the 2012 US Open.

The man who came runner-up to Els, Australian Adam Scott, also uses a belly putter and has credited it from turning around his game.

The prevalence of the longer putters that anchor to the body may be under threat. R&A chief executive Peter Dawson has said discussion on the legality of the club with the United States Golf Association began before the Open Championship took place.

''We appreciate that there is much speculation about this and that we need to clarify the position as soon as possible,'' Dawson said Monday. ''And I think you're going to see us saying something about it one way or the other in a few months, rather than years.''

A multitude of golfers from Luke Donald to Rory McIlroy to Tiger Woods have all called for the longer putter to be outlawed.

But there's one man who's prepared to speak up for them, two-times U.S. Masters champion Bernhard Langer.

“The long putter has been out for 30-35 years now, so it’s a little surprising that they are trying to get rid of something that’s been around for so long and used by a number of people,” said Langer, who used the broomstick putter to such awesome effect over the last 14 years.

“If it was an unfair advantage, why didn’t they ban it immediately or within a year or two when they saw the first few guys? That’s certainly one thing that bothers me. I also find it interesting that if the long putter is so easy to use, why doesn’t everybody use it?”

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