LA JOLLA (USA), June 17 ― Rory McIlroy, chairman of the US PGA Tour Players Advisory Council, said yesterday he wants greens books “outlawed” from tour events and a ban reportedly could be voted on next week.
Golfweek reported yesterday that the 16-member council voted two weeks ago to ban the books, which detail slopes and contours on putting surfaces.
The full PGA Tour board could vote on the matter as early as next week, with any change likely to come for the 2021-22 campaign.
“Everything that's talked about in those meetings is somewhat confidential,” McIlroy said.
“But what I can say, I think, I use a greens book, and I'd like to get rid of them. I think everyone is in the same boat, that if it's going to be available to us and it helps us, people are going to use it.
“But I think for the greater good of the game, I'd like to see them be outlawed and for them not to be used anymore.”
Defending US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau is among those who uses the greens books greatly to consider putting angles.
The books currently are banned only at the Masters.
McIlroy sees the books as replacing a skill golfers need to develop.
“It's not that it's an advantage really, it's just taking away a skill that takes time and practice to be mastered,” McIlroy said.
“I think reading greens is a real skill that some people are better at than others, and it just nullifies that. It nullifies that advantage that people have.
“I think it has made everyone lazier. People don't put in the time to prepare the way they used to, and that's why you see so many more players at Augusta, for example, take their time around the greens, hit so many more putts. It's because they have to. It's because there's no greens book at Augusta.”
McIlroy said the move might speed up the pace of play in tournament rounds, even if it requires more work in prior days.
“It might make practice rounds a little longer and you might have to do a little bit more work,” McIlroy said. “But I think, once we get to the tournament rounds, it will speed up play, and I think it will help the guys who really have done their homework. It will help them stand out a little bit more.”
The US Golf Association (USGA) will see what the PGA Tour decides before greens books are addressed again.
“I think it's something that we'll just listen and see what's said,” USGA president Stu Francis said. “We're very close to the tour and I'm sure those discussions are happening as we speak.”
John Bodenhamer, senior managing director of championships for the US Golf Association, noted size limitations were placed on greens books years ago.
“We always want skill and talent to be the reasons why players succeed,” he said. “We're listening a lot more to players than we ever have before and really explaining the why behind our decisions like we never have before.”
Golf 'in a great place'
McIlroy was also asked about arm-lock putting versus anchored putting, which has been banned.
“I thought we got rid of anchoring putting three years ago,” McIlroy said, then admitted that with arm-lock putting allowed, “No, probably not.”
“That's certainly something that I would like to see addressed, as well, and I think there's a common consensus with the players on that one too,” McIlroy said.
“Golf is in a great place. We always have these conversations of what we can do to make the game better or grow the game or expand the game.
“There's a couple of little things that us golf nerds want changed, whether it be green reading books or arm-lock putting or whatever it is, but from a whole and looking at the game from an entirety of it, I think it's in a really good place.” ― AFP