A former Australian touring professional has alleged that Stewart Hagestad shouldn’t have won low amateur honours at the Masters because his putting stroke was illegal.
Hagestad, who became the first Mid-Amateur champion since 1989 to make the cut at Augusta National, finished on six-over-par and denied Aussie rising star Curtis Luck the trophy by three strokes.
The 26-year-old was using a long putter – as were Bernhard Langer and Ian Woosnam at Augusta – and while they aren’t banned, the act of controlling the putter with your upper body was made illegal at the beginning of 2016.
But Mark Allen, a former PGA of Australia Tour player of 15 years who featured at the 1999 Open Championship, said his compatriot was denied because of Hagestad’s ‘cheating’.
Now a radio host, Allen told SEN’s ‘Hungry For Sport’: “If he wasn't cheating with that long putter, I'm not here. That was unbelievable.
“The rules say your arm is allowed to accidentally brush your shirt (when putting). Well, he 'accidentally' brushed his shirt with that arm and that left hand using a broom action every single time I saw him putt.
“(It's) absolutely disgraceful how the Rules of Golf have let that happen. Bernhard Langer is still doing it and Ian Woosnam (too).
“You can't have a rule that says you can accidentally brush your arm against a shirt and then do it 'accidentally' every single time you putt. What an absolute joke.”
Allen wasn’t the only one who was suspicious of Hagestad's putting stroke though, which you can see on display in the tweet below.
Twitter users were also critical of the amateur's action.
How is Stewart Hagestad's putting stroke not illegal? #TheMasters— Anthony Goins ⛳️ (@Anthony_Goins03) April 9, 2017
Can't believe Hagestad's putting technique has been given the tick of approval.. if that isn't anchoring I don't know what is.— cmcg (@mcgregor_cain) April 10, 2017