There will be some major modifications to the PGA Tour’s equipment in 2022, according to the schedule. PGA Tour tournaments are likely to ban modern green-reading books, despite the fact that there is no technological regression in the golf ball or equipment.
The Tour distributed a message to players and caddies on Monday that stated, “Players and caddies will only be able to utilize a “Committee Approved yardage book” during competitive rounds beginning January 1, 2022. The Committee Approved book would resemble a typical yardage book and will contain just broad information on slopes and other features in terms of green specifics.”
This local rule is now “being drafted by the USGA and R&A,” and it will still need to be approved by the PGA Tour Player Advisory Council later in November, but it is virtually probable that it will take effect when golfers tee it up at the Tournament of Champions in 2022.
According to the memo, this is a “return to a position where players and caddies use only their skill, judgment, and feel together with any information gained through experience, preparation, and practice to read the line of play on the putting green.”
Consider it the “Bryson DeChambeau Rule.” While DeChambeau can still write all the mathematical formulas he wants to note in his yardage books, he can no longer obtain them outside of his own experiences.
This is also the point at which the rule becomes intriguing. Handwritten notes that “also meet the new limits” can be transferred into the approved book, but “no devices, levels, or other technologies” are permitted “to acquire information that will be preserved as notes,” and “no information may be copied into the approved book,” according to the guidelines.
The reason for this may be perplexing is that players and caddies may not recall where they obtained some of the information in their current books. Was it from an outside source, such as a corporation that used lasers to shoot a green, or was it from the third round of a tournament the golfer competed in in 2019, when he remembered a putt breaking a cup in the opposite direction he expected it would break?
This is a positive move for the PGA Tour, regardless of the details and how they are worked out. It reintroduces a component of talent and athleticism, resulting in a (modest) distinction between the most skilled and the least skilled golfers. It reintroduces characteristics of wisdom, trust, devotion, and attention, which are commonly present among the greatest players, while removing math, which levels the playing field and likely disadvantages stars and superstars.
Some believe this will harm DeChambeau, who has relied largely on his book over the years, but I believe it will actually benefit him. He’s been immersed in the gradient game for years, and he’ll be able to replicate it better than nearly anyone else in the world with his own eyes. Remember that you can still produce your own green-reading book using your own experience and expertise; you just can’t rely on others to do it for you. It may take him some time to acclimate, but I’m confident he’ll do well.
When it is likely implemented in two months, this will be a welcome change on a professional level and a solid step in the right direction.
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