THE world can debate whether the long putter needs to be rubbed out of golf, but Australian star Adam Scott says the sport's governing bodies are just avoiding the real issues facing the game.
As Scott finished his round at Wednesday's pro-am at Kingston Heath, the world No. 5 was peppered with questions about his use of an oversized putter and method of putting that golf authorities are considering outlawing.
The issue has become the hottest topic in golf after a string of tournaments were won by players using ''belly'' or ''broomstick'' putters, and was highlighted again when the international drawcards at this week's Australian Masters, Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell, called for long putters to be banned.
But Scott, the other headliner for the event at Kingston Heath, says there are bigger and more pressing threats to the game's growth that need to be addressed.
Of higher priority to Scott is the effect of the modern ball and other technologies that allow players to achieve greater distance and forces course designers to make holes longer.
The 32-year-old said people were ''over-worrying'' whether the growing band of players using long putters were gaining an unfair advantage.
''I don't think putting is the biggest problem in the game at the moment,'' he said. ''It's commonly acknowledged that length is more of an issue than anything else.
''The holes haven't been made smaller or the greens changed because of people putting with longer putters, yet tees are moving a long way back and [shorter] courses are made obsolete because of other technologies in the game.
''Also the time it takes to play. These are some of the things that the powers that be should be looking at rectifying. Because there's no actual evidence that putting with an anchored putter is better [or] easier.
''If it is, I would assume everyone would be doing it.''
Scott, outright favourite for the Masters, said he trusts the USPGA and Royal and Ancient Golf Club will act in the best interests of the game, but pointed out that ''there has never been a criteria set by the governing bodies as to why they're proposing a ban on [the long putter]''.
Scott had previously used a short putter before switching to the longer stick two years ago, and therefore he says he won't be affected if over-sized putters are banned outright.
If rule-makers choose to outlaw players ''anchoring'' the putter to their bodies rather than the actual length of the club, Scott said he would still favour the longer putter.
Players who had never used anything other than a long putter during their professional careers, such as Webb Simpson and Keegan Bradley, would be the most affected by any rule change, he said.
''It's not just about the professional game, either, it's about the game in general. We don't want to be turning people away from the game of golf because of the way they putt.''