By Larry Fine
AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Proponents of the long putter celebrated completion of the grand slam when Australia's Adam Scott won the Masters on Sunday in a playoff against Angel Cabrera of Argentina.
The Masters was the last of the four major championships to be claimed by users of belly or broomstick putters.
With Keegan Bradley having won the 2011 PGA Championship for the first major title won by a player anchoring a long putter against his body, four of the last six major championships have been claimed by those wielding them.
Webb Simpson triumphed at last year's U.S. Open and South African Ernie Els followed with a victory in the British Open.
The spate of victories in the sport's biggest tournaments comes with golf's rules-making bodies poised to act on their proposed rules change that would ban from 2016 the practice of anchoring a putter to steady the stroke.
The U.S. PGA Tour and the PGA of America, comprised of teaching professionals, have come out against the proposed ban with the U.S. Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient governing bodies expected to make a final ruling later this year.
RUN OF SUCCESS
Scott said the recent run of success by players using long putters did not settle the debate.
"We are all waiting to hear what's going to happen," Scott said. "I don't know that this is going to impact any decisions at all.
"You know my feeling on it all; that it was inevitable that big tournaments would be won with this equipment, because these are the best players in the world and they practise thousands of hours. They are going to get good with whatever they are using. It's inevitable.
"I don't know that is going to have any impact on any decisions upcoming," Scott said about the possible impact of his Masters victory.
Use of long putters did not assure success at Augusta National.
Bradley finished at 297, nine over par and 18 strokes behind the winner. Twice Masters winner Els was a good bit better, posting a one-under-par total of 287. Simpson missed the cut.
Masters runner-up Cabrera scoffed at the suggestion that the long putter was a key to Scott's triumph.
"I don't think there is any advantage," said Cabrera, who used a putter that was belly length when he won the 2009 Masters, but did not anchor the club.
"If it really is an advantage, why don't everybody play it? So, you know, I'm just happy for him."
(Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)