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He had a cortisone injection and let it heal, but he was not prepared to play Greenbrier or John Deere, and he didn’t fancy his chances at the Open. And with hopes of playing seven straight weeks through the FedEx Cup playoffs, he felt rest was in order.

“I’m sure my back was bothering me during the U.S. Open, and then that long flight coming home,” he said. “I didn’t hit a shot for two weeks. After that, it was chipping and putting. I wasn’t ready to play golf. I wasn’t going to be competition. And then you’ve got the long flight over, links golf … I felt zero percent of zero is zero, right? I wasn’t confident I was going to play well.”


LONG PUTTERS: The USGA and R&A are looking into long putters and belly putters, focusing mainly on anchoring the putter to the body and whether any decision should fall under the rules of golf or an equipment ruling. If it’s under the rules, a change would not take place until 2016.

Whatever the case, Keegan Bradley might say he had a hand in any decision.

Bradley became the first player with a belly putter to win a major last year at the PGA Championship. Then, Webb Simpson used a belly putter in winning the U.S. Open, and Ernie Els used a belly putter to win the British Open, by one shot over Adam Scott, who uses a long putter.

“There’s been a lot of belly putters winning,” Bradley said. `I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I just think it all happened at once. My generation of golfers have been using these putters for a long time. In the past, I think it was a lot of the older guys who felt they couldn’t use anything else. I think this generation is different and a little more willing to try things. You’re just starting to see it.”

Bradley had a good stroke with the short putter, but decided to try the belly. So if there’s a change, “I’m not scared at all to have to putt with a short putter,” he said.

That might be different for someone like Carl Pettersson, who has used a long putter dating to his amateur days, or Tim Clark, who also has used a long putter in playing in the Presidents Cup and winning The Players Championship.

And then there is Ernie Els, who decried the longer putters a few years ago until he switched with the famous line, “As long as it’s legal, I’ll keep cheating like the rest of them.” Now, the Big Easy is trying to work his way back to a short putter.

“By the end of the year or so,” he said. “But don’t cast that in stone. I think I’ve still got four years maybe with the long putter, so I’ve still got a bit of time. But eventually, I want to get to the short putter because I feel back in the day, that was my best method of putting.”