Rory McIlroy favours banning green-reading books for ‘good of the game’

‘It’s just taking away a skill that takes time and practice to be mastered’

Rory McIlroy  drives  from the fourth tee during a practice round prior to the start of the US Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course  in San Diego. Photograph: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy drives from the fourth tee during a practice round prior to the start of the US Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego. Photograph: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

 

Rory McIlroy is in favour of green-reading books being banned by the PGA Tour for the “greater good of the game”.

The tour’s player advisory council, of which McIlroy is chairman, voted two weeks ago to ban the books before next season, according to Golfweek.

Asked about the issue in his pre-tournament press conference ahead of the US Open, McIlroy said: “Look, everything that’s talked about in those meetings is somewhat confidential, but what I can say . . . I use a greens book, and I’d like to get rid of them.

“I think everyone is in the same boat, most guys on tour are 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 any more.”

Critics of the books, which feature detailed illustrations of the direction and degree of slope on each green, say they offer too much assistance to players, effectively negating the skill of reading putts.

“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 added.

“I think reading greens is a real skill that some people are better at than others, and it just nullifies that.

“Honestly, I think it’s 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 is no greens book at Augusta.

“It might make practice rounds a little longer and you might have to do a little bit more work, 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.”

McIlroy also said he feels there is a “common consensus” among players that the “arm-lock” method of putting used by defending US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau – among others – should be banned.

“I thought we got rid of anchoring putting three years ago,” McIlroy said with a smile.

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