McIlroy calls for green-reading books & arm-lock putting to be banned on PGA Tour

Bernie McGuire

Rory McIlroy plays his tee shot on the fifth hole during a practice round at the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, Calif. on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (Jeff Haynes/USGA)

Bernie McGuire

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If Rory McIlroy as Chairman of the PGA Tour Players Advisory Council gets his way, and it seems he may have, then green-reading books and the practice of arm-lock putting will be ‘outlawed’ on golf’s biggest tour.

It was reported last week, the 16-PGA Tour player council that McIlroy heads voted two weeks ago to ban the books, which detail slopes and contours on putting surfaces. All it needs now is for the full PGA Tour board to rubber-stamp the decision, a move that could come into force from the start of the 2021-22 wraparound season.

“Everything that’s talked about in those meetings is somewhat confidential,” McIlroy said ahead of this week’s U.S. Open.

“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. 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 green books greatly to consider putting angles. The books are currently banned only at the Masters. The four-time major winning McIlroy believes the controversial books are 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,” added McIlroy.

“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.

“It has made everyone lazier. Players 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, taking 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.”

As well, McIlroy is of the view that the decision to ban green reading books will help speed-up the pace of play in tournament rounds, if at the expense of slower practice rounds.

“Practice rounds may become 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.”

And McIlroy intends to make his presence felt also at Player Advisory chairmanship level in revealing he wants arm-lock putting banned also.

“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. 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.”

McIlroy gets his US Open bid underway in the company of Justin Rose and Dustin Johnson at 21.36 (Irish).

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