Leading putting instructor Phil Kenyon has slammed as ‘ridiculous’ and also ‘stupid’ a PGA Tour Advisory Committee decision from 1st January, 2022 to ban players and caddies from using only committee-approved yardage books.
This unprecedented rule also states in the last paragraph of the statement, that the use of devices in practice rounds that help with the reading of green slopes and grades, either on the practice putting greens or the tournament course, are banned.
.@KenyonPutting makes a really good point about the double standard of the tour’s new rule change:
That players are allowed to bring all sorts of radars and launch monitors onto the course or range to test conditions, yet can’t use a level on a practice putting green? pic.twitter.com/stxI9Wxwqk
— LKD (@LukeKerrDineen) November 4, 2021
The Tour advised players and caddies earlier this week of the new rules with many taking to social media speaking out against the decision with Kenyon highly-critical in a 250-word Instagram post he linked to the PGA Tour, the European Tour, the R&A and the USGA.
Blackpool-born Kenyon had worked under the famed Harold Swash, who helped introduce the long-handled putter into the game, with Kenyon forming his own Phil Kenyon Putting Academy.
Kenyon works with some of the greats of the game including Major winners Darren Clarke, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Francesco Molinari. Though it was the last paragraph of the Tour’s statement that really irked Kenyon.
“This last paragraph beggars belief,” said Kenyon.
“So you can take a TrackMan or quad or rangefinder onto the course and check how certain shots or holes ‘play’ yardage-wise but you can’t take a level onto a ‘practice’ putting green to calibrate your feel for slope.
“What a ridiculous rule. It’s stupid in fact. It serves no purpose. It’s indeed skill limiting.
“I actually don’t think the governing bodies understand the complexity of the scenarios in front of them. Is using a level in practice hurting the game more than how far the ball goes or the speed of play?”
Kenyon added: “The technology available to a player to refine their skill in practice contributes to the game by allowing them to perform at a higher level in competition. There shouldn’t be constraints such as this in practice. If so they should be across the game.
“Maybe not let players use weights in the gym? Let’s ban speed stick training? Why should devices be available on the range and course but not the putting greens?
“Sadly once again the governing bodies haven’t thought it through well enough in my opinion. Let’s pick on putting. Let’s avoid the real issues. How far the ball goes and slow play.”
And in ending his Instagram message, Kenyon called on support for his comments, declaring “we need to speak up for something that is fundamentally wrong!”
Last year’s US Open champion, Bryson DeChambeau responded to Kenyon tweeting: “Couldn’t agree more with your take.”
And Chris Como, who coaches DeChambeau, also responded:
“Anything that impedes innovation of thought or practices takes away from the beauty of the game. I think it’s a mistake to go down the ‘if you’re going to do it in putting do it across the board’ rabbit hole. Just don’t do it!!! One of the great joys of this game is the endless treasure hunt of finding small edges that add up over time.”