McIlroy on board with ban on green reading books

The books have also come under criticism for contributing to slow play, something McIlroy said should also be taken into account by players

Count Rory McIlroy in when it comes to banning the books players use to help them read greens — even though he uses one himself.

McIlroy, responding to reports the books carried by most players in their back pockets may be on their way out as early as this fall, said he believes reading the way greens break is a skill that should be part of the game. The books, he said, cut into the advantage good green readers have.

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"I use a greens book and I’d like to get rid of them,’’ McIlroy said. "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."

McIlroy’s comments come in the wake of a report in Golfweek that the PGA Tour’s Player Advisory Council voted earlier this month to outlaw the books, a vote that will go to the full tour membership for final approval. McIlroy is chairman of the council and made clear his position is that the books should be taken out of the game at the highest level.

``It’s not that it’s an advantage really, it’s just taking away a skill that takes time and practice to be mastered,’’ McIlroy said. ``I think reading greens is a real skill that some people are better at than others and it just nullifies that advantage that people have.’’

The books have also come under criticism for contributing to slow play, something McIlroy said should also be taken into account by players.

``It might make practice rounds a little longer and you might have to do a little more work,’’ he 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 have really done their homework, it will help them stand out a little bit more.’’

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The roars are back at major championship golf, though they won’t be as loud as they might have been this week at the U.S. Open.

Officials say up to 10,000 fans a day will be at Torrey Pines, a welcome site after the last Open was played without fans at Winged Foot

"I look around this place and I see like 90 days ago we didn’t think we were gong to have fans," said John Bodenhamer, senior managing director of championships for the USGA. "To see that we have six or seven grandstands that have gone up in the last couple of weeks, it’s pretty remarkable.’’

While happy to have a crowd, USGA officials can only shake their heads at the timing. On Tuesday, California loosened its COVID-19 restrictions, allowing the Los Angeles Dodgers to play Tuesday before more than 50,000 fans, which is about the number of tickets usually sold for a normal Open round.

Bodenhamer said there simply wasn’t enough time to revamp the plan and add capacity to Torrey Pines once it became clear that restrictions would be lifted.

``I had the question earlier today, why don’t you have 30,000, 40,000 people?" he said. ``What we do in building what is essentially a small city, we start six months in advance and it takes a while. I think what you see out there for 8,000 or 10,000 that will happen this week, it’s a remarkable accomplishment.’’