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Peter Lonard caught up in putter dispute

Peter Lonard's putter is at the centre of a bragging-rights war between a backyard Aussie inventor and a multi-national US club maker.

Sydneysider Bruce Kennedy -- who created and still makes the revolutionary Pendulum putter in his back shed -- claims Lonard used a rip-off of his design to finish second at this month's Australian PGA Championship at Coolum.

Kennedy is convinced Lonard's supplier, TaylorMade, copied his unique broomstick putter -- which is distinguished from regular models by its canoe shape, weight and central shaft.

And while Lonard concedes he asked the US company to devise a putter based on the Pendulum, the golfer insists the final product is different.

Courtesy of Kennedy's original, Lonard has enjoyed several impressive showings on the US PGA Tour. In 2002 he made the second-most cuts behind world No. 1 Tiger Woods, shooting to stardom and a deal with TaylorMade. But the company's putters produced mixed results that saw Lonard occasionally revert to the Pendulum.

In 2004, he won the New South Wales Open, Australian Open and PGA with it.

And Kennedy claims Lonard's three top-10 finishes on this year's US Tour came courtesy of his club.

The recently completed Australian Tour saw Lonard produce solid performances with other putters at the Australian Open and Masters.

Then came the PGA. Lonard finished regulation play at 22-under, tied at the top of the leaderboard with Nick O'Hern, using a different putter from the two previous outings.

Seasoned observers spotted the change upon recognising the tell-tale Pendulum shape.

But Lonard's new "Pendulum" was built by TaylorMade.

"If they were so desperate to rip me off, why don't they just come to my shed and flog a couple of clubs," Kennedy said.

Asked to respond, Lonard said: "I did give the Pendulum to TaylorMade, but I also asked them to make quite a few changes."

Lonard accepted Kennedy was entitled to be "a bit miffed", but said TaylorMade had done nothing sinister because the putter was not for commercial sale.

"Sure the Pendulum is the inspiration for my new putter -- just like something else was probably the inspiration for the Pendulum," he said.

Without a patent, Kennedy can't stop other manufacturers working off his design.

December 22, 2006


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