Former major winner Steve Elkington thinks Adam Scott can win another green jacket this year, but hopes his anchored putter doesn’t hold an asterisk in the record books or his mind going forward.
Elkington, who won the 1995 PGA Championship, believes Scott could look back on his 2013 Masters triumph with a little bit of self doubt if he is unable to successfully transition back to the short putter and win majors in the future.
He says lawmakers are to blame for creating a nearly three year window for the new rule to take affect after making the decision to ban it in May 2013 but not enforcing the ban until next year, creating debate among players and fans of the game.
The anchored stroke Scott has primarily used over the past four years will be banned from January 1 next year and while Scott played his past three tournaments with a short putter, the 34-year-old will revert to his broomstick at Augusta National.
“If he putts bad (in the future) and doesn’t contend again, yes it was legal, but I would ask myself `could I do it without the anchor?'” Elkington said.
“I love Adam. I want him to win but Adam has always been linked with good hitting and average putting.
“No doubt the long putter helped make him elite and his Masters might have an asterisk if he can’t stay elite but I hope not.”
Elkington’s sentiment is based in statistical fact with Scott producing a stunning upsurge in his major championship performances after switching to the long putter.
In his first 39 majors Scott recorded just five top 15 finishes and missed 14 cuts but since the switch he has 13 top 15’s in the past 16 majors with just one missed cut.
Last season on the US PGA tour Scott ranked 55th in strokes gained putting but this season, after using the short putter the past three starts, he sits 184th.
“There will be a historic window of debate while the rule came into effect but he can erase all that by winning with a short putter and I hope he does that,” Elkington said.
“I feel for him but I think he can do it.”
Scott confirmed on Sunday at Augusta he will likely use the long putter for the remainder of the year.
“I am only playing by the rules,” Scott said.
“I don’t understand the argument there and people can think what they like but it’s part of the game.
“It (going back) just seemed like the sensible thing to do. I hadn’t practiced with the short putter at all, I just took it out and played at Doral and Tampa and Bay Hill and there was mixed results.
“Obviously my putting was great with the long putter and I am not here to just see what happens, I am here to get the job done and I think the odds are more in my favour of doing it with the long putter.”
Scott headlines the Australian tilt with Jason Day, Geoff Ogilvy, John Senden and amateur Anthony Murdaca, while Marc Leishman is still yet to confirm his place as he spends time with his sick wife in hospital.