Rory McIlroy: Green-reading books have made players lazy and should be banned

Rory McIlroy wants to see controversial green-reading books banned in golf because he feels they’ve made players “lazy” and he has also called for anchoring to be properly outlawed.

Rory McIlroy during a practice round prior to the start of the 2021 US Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego. Picture: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images.
Rory McIlroy during a practice round prior to the start of the 2021 US Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego. Picture: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images.

It has been claimed that the PGA Tour is set to bring an end to the use of green-reading books before the start of next season, having received “overwhelming” support from its Player Advisory Council chaired by McIlroy.

Speaking on the eve of the 121st US Open at Torrey Pines in California, the Northern Irishman insisted that matters discussed at PAC level - Russell Knox is another member of the group - were “confidential”.

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But he added: “I use a green book, and I'd like to get rid of them. 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 anymore.

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“I think reading greens is a real skill that some people are better at than others, and it nullifies that advantage that people have. Honestly, I think it's made everyone lazier. People don't put in the time to prepare the way they used to.

“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.

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“Look, 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.”

Asked what other things he'd like to see changed for the betterment of golf, McIlroy laughed when anchored putting was mentioned.

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“I thought we got rid of anchoring putting three years ago,” he replied, referring to a rule being introduced by the R&A and USGA to try and stop that but lots of players now using an armlock method.

“No, probably not,” he added, laughing. “Yeah, that is 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.

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“Look, the game of golf is in a great place. I think we always have these conversations of what we can do to make the game better or grow the game or expand the game.

“Yeah, there's a couple of little things that us golf nerds want changed, but, looking at the game from an entirety of it, I think it's in a really good place.”

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McIlroy, the 2011 winner, is relishing this week’s test, describing the set up as fair”. It’s not usually the case for this event, but he also said the “rough is playable”.

Torrey Pines is an annual stop on the PGA Tour and McIlroy said of that: “There's not really any secrets out there. We all know what to do and how to play it, and it's just a matter of who can execute over the four days.”

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