The World Match Play final between Billy Horschel and Scottie Scheffler was more like an ordnance survey exam than a game of golf. It will be a huge relief to watch golf being played at Augusta this coming week without being overwhelmed by an urge to throw something at the TV.
When Scheffler took over three minutes to cover 54-feet on the 9th green, it was time to switch off the TV and go to sleep. Most of the three minutes was spent looking at a greens mapping book. When his caddie was consulted for the second putt (not the first) he, too, proceeded to look at the book, first oblong and then upright. Perhaps he should have looked at it upside down because the whole episode became a farce when the putt was missed.
Whatever has happened to Rule 5.6b? Well, actually it isn’t a rule, it is a recommendation that 40 seconds is sufficient/allowable to play a shot? Personally, I would not consider myself a fast player. I’m an efficient one. I assess my own shots and putts while my playing companions are playing theirs. That’s not rocket science but, it does save a lot of time. Why anyone needs more than 20-seconds is beyond me?
Collin Morikawa and Bryson DeChambeau are in the same bracket of golfers transfixed by their green-reading books. They spend more time looking at the book than where they are going. Colin Montgomerie calls the whole performance: “Ridiculous” and he is right. Bryson himself admits he putted better in College (without any book).
Jon Rahm doesn’t mince his words on the use of green-reading books.
“I don’t think they should be allowed,” Rahm says. “Being able to read a green and read a break and understand the green is a talent, it’s a skill that can be developed, and by just giving you the information (in a book), they’re taking away from the game. I don’t look at them because I’m a feel player, I trust what I see. If I am unsure, I’ll ask my caddie who has a book but I don’t look at it. To be honest, I don’t think they should be allowed. Being able to read greens is a talent, it’s part of the game.”
Phil Mickelson thinks differently. In 2019, he tweeted: “The greens book allows me to do 80% of my read before I even get to the green. For anyone to say they slow up play is flat out idiotic.”
Sorry, Phil, it is you who is being idiotic.