"Ridiculous!" - Top coach blasts tour's new putting policy

Putting Close Up

One of the game's top coaches has hit out at a decision that will change the way players are allowed to practice their putting at PGA Tour events

Phil Kenyon, widely regarded as the world's leading authority on all things putting, was reacting to news that, from 1 January 2022, players will be banned from using devices to test the conditions of putting greens during practice rounds, in pro-ams and on practice greens.

The news was a footnote in a memo sent to PGA Tour players and caddies earlier this week, in which the game's most lucrative circuit announced its intention to impose a new Local Rule that will restrict players and caddies to using a “Committee Approved” yardage book in competition rounds from next year.

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In a lengthy social media post, Kenyon - who helped Darren Clarke, Henrik Stenson and Francesco Molinari win The Open in 2011, 2016 and 2018 respectively - said that the decision to ban green-testing devices outwith competition rounds "beggars belief".

"So you can take a TrackMan or Quad or rangefinder on to 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," he wrote.

"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."

Kenyon added that he believes putting is being "picked on".

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"Is using a level in practice hurting the game more than how far the ball goes or the speed of play?" he wrote.

"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."

At the time of writing, Kenyon's Instagram post had been liked almost 1,000 times with many of the game's top players adding their support - amongst them Bryson DeChambeau.

"Couldn't agree more with your take," wrote the 2020 US Open champion.

European Tour winner Byeong Hun An added: "I like how they banned green books during tournament play but I don’t understand why they banned using practice devices during practice rounds."

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