When Adam Scott birdied the second playoff hole Sunday at the Masters, he became the fourth winner of the past six major championships to use a belly putter.
Even players who once swore off the clubs, like British Open champion Ernie Els, are now using them.
But if the United States Golf Association (USGA) has its way, these putters could soon be banned from competition.
The USGA and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club proposed a rule last fall that would prohibit players from using clubs that are anchored to the bodies, like the one Scott used to win the Masters. The logic behind the ban is that anchored clubs eliminate much of the challenge of putting.
"The player's challenge is to control the movement of the entire club in striking the ball, and anchoring the club alters the nature of that challenge," Mike Davis, the executive director of the United States Golf Association, said in November. "Our conclusion is that the Rules of Golf should be amended to preserve the traditional character of the golf swing by eliminating the growing practice of anchoring the club."
This spring the ban hit a roadblock in the form of strong opposition from the PGA Tour. While the European Tour confirmed its support of the ban, the PGA Tour came out against such a rule.
"I think the essential thread that went through the thinking of the players ... was that in the absence of data or any basis to conclude that there is a competitive advantage to be gained by using anchoring, and given the amount of time that anchoring has been in the game, that there is no overriding reason to go down that road," Tim Finchem, the PGA Tour commissioner, said in February.
The players themselves appear split on such a ban. Recent major winners like Scott, Els and Keegan Bradley use the anchored putters. But golf's top two names -- Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods -- have both spoken in favor of a ban.
The USGA will decide on the proposed rule this spring. Should belly putters be outlawed, the ban will likely not take place until the next four-year rule cycle begins in 2016.
In the meantime, many players remain conflicted.
"Nothing should be anchored to your body and I still believe that," Els said recently. "But as long as it’s legal, I will keep cheating like the rest of them."