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Whilst much of the talk has centred around the odd new procedure for taking a drop, the recently-updated rules of golf have also outlawed the controversial business of caddies lining up their players.

Particularly common on the LPGA, this practice has been a bugbear of armchair golfers for years but, as of January 1, is no longer allowed.

John Smoltz, however, may have discovered a unique way around said rule.

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The former Major League Baseball player turned avid golfer was spotted using a rather unconventional putter during last week’s Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions.

Smoltz, 51, an eight-time MLB all-star, took part in the event using a Bloodline putter, which has a rather unusual feature – it’s self-standing.

Check out this video of Smoltz using it last week, courtesy of Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols.

As you can see, the putter allows Smoltz to line-up as normal before letting go off the club and walking behind it to check that it is sitting square to his target.

“Everybody I play with says ‘That’s illegal,’” Smoltz told reporters at the Diamond Resorts event.

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Except here’s the thing – it’s not.

According to the USGA, self-standing putters are allowed to be used to help players take a stance or to point out the line of play only when they are placed right next to the ball.

That’s all well and good but are we the only ones who think that, a bit like anchoring before it, it’s not really in the spirit of the game?

Self-standing putters – your thoughts?

Do you think self-standing putters should be allowed in competitive golf? Leave your thoughts in our Comments section below.


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Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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