After Bryson DeChambeau cited his green reading book’s confusing data as part of the reason he took forever to hit a six-footer, the episode reminded plenty just how silly it is that an already slow game where key skills are less necessary would get slower and easier.
That DeChambeau suggested it was his right to set up shop due to the book read being so very, very wrong, reminded me what a stain on the game these are and that they simply need to go.
Today on Twitter, as Bill Speros notes for Golfweek, Rickie Fowler’s green-reading assistant and bagman Joe Skovron made clear he didn’t have a stake in the green book debate, but suggested they do help speed up play.
Phil Mickelson, in a rare reply, probably wrote too much:
Mercifully for the green reading book world, Mickelson’s terrible stats this year strongly contradict his statement.
Skill was a key element in the governing bodies questioning the role of these books and rules were changed in an attempt to reduce their efficacy. Thomas Pagel of the USGA when the books were kept legal, with restrictions:
“We have looked carefully at the use of these green-reading materials and the extremely detailed information they provide and our view is that they tip the balance too far away from the essential skill and judgment required to read subtle slopes on the greens. It is important to be clear, however, that we still regard the use of yardage books and handwritten notes to be an entirely appropriate part of the game.”
They probably will not use Mickelson’s remarks to consider a ban given his season stats in the areas where he claims they gain him time and strokes. But Mickelson seems to admit that the books allow him to spend less time studying a course to learn how to read the greens or tackle the design.
There was also this from Luke Donald, one of the best putters of his or any generation: