LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England – Laura Davies and Catriona Matthew have criticized the R&A for failing to ban green-reading books outright ahead of the $3 million Ricoh Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham and St. Annes.
The R&A and USGA released a joint statement on Tuesday announcing plans to limit the use of green-reading materials beginning Jan. 1, 2019. The two British veterans say the governing bodies haven’t gone far enough.
“I think they should ban them completely,” Matthew said. “They’re kind of halfway what’s acceptable, what’s not. If you don’t want people to use them, just ban them outright.”
Matthew, winner of the 2009 Ricoh Women’s British Open, feels the governing bodies have waited too long.
“I kind of think they’ve got a little out of hand,” Matthew said.
“How they were ever allowed in in the first place, I have no idea,” Davies said. “I don’t understand all the lines, arrows going this way and that way.”
One of the quickest players in the game, Davies feels the books only slow down the pace of play.
“That’s the problem, isn’t it?” Davies said. “People are lining up, and folks and standing looking. Just get a feel. I don’t understand it. I’ve never been a huge gadget person. You can’t get near a hole nowadays with that many gadgets out there.”
Davies is making her 38th consecutive appearance in the Women’s British Open, while Matthew is playing in her 24th. Davies is one of 12 English players in the field, but Matthew is one of just two Scots. Kylie Henry is the other representative from the Home of Golf.
“It certainly seems a pretty low number to me,” said Matthew, who will captain next year’s European Solheim Cup team at Gleneagles.
“It is a shame. I mean I’d like to see more Scots coming through. I was fortunate when I first started there was about four or five on tour. But since the three of them have stopped, it’s just been me. So, yeah, it’s kind of disappointing that there’s not more coming through.”