'If I was a top-10 player I would put my appearance fee back into the prize fund'
It has been quite a year for Eddie Pepperell. After half of it he appeared to be heading back to Q School but he then finished 16th at the US Open and, from September onwards, he recorded six top 10s in just seven starts to finish the year 42nd on the Race to Dubai. His best effort in five years on tour.
And things are looking up away from the course. So good in fact that he, Lee Westwood and Pablo Larrazabal have just been voted onto the players’ committee.
Their first meeting will take place in Abu Dhabi in January and Pepperell will arrive in the Emirates loaded up with ideas for a brighter future, as outlined by his manifesto that he posted on Twitter.
I've been told more than two people have put themselves forward for the remaining two spots on the Tour committee. Here is my Manifesto… pic.twitter.com/AQGGnul6Ek
— Eddie Pepperell (@PepperellEddie) October 22, 2017
We spoke to Pepperell for, what the Americans would call, a ‘deeper dive’ into his proclamation for change…
Improved food options for caddies
“The Tour has made forward steps to be fair. I didn’t realise this was down to the promoter and tournament director rather than the European Tour.
“It has improved and where they take control of events like the British Masters, Wentworth and Portugal then there is great food and the Tour is doing its bit, it’s just the promoter who doesn’t feel the need to put more money towards the caddies.”
Maths and English exam retake options for caddies
“This wasn’t even really a dig, they’re all generally very smart and wise men and women but that was just a little poke after being so nice over the food. I’m nice but I’m not that nice a guy, it was just a bit of fun.
“Their maths, and certainly their English, is just as good as most Premier League footballers.”
One minute silence, every other minute, when three or more Spanish players are present in the players’ lounge
“That could probably be two minutes if there were two Spaniards in there and one of them was Alvaro Quiros. They are quite loud.
“The tour is very cliquey but the irony is that it shows why immigration will never work. If you put 150 very well-off individuals and they still don’t integrate then why should society with way more stresses and pressures integrate in a peaceful way?
“Nationalities don’t integrate unless they have and when we do, when we’re drawn with each other, we get on very well.
“When there’s a choice people stick to their own.”
Forty-second shot clock, only for players who voted for it
“I don’t agree with it. I just don’t see it resolving the problem of a slow game. If it goes from five hours to four and a half then that is still a long time, if it was going down to three then that would be genius.
“I don’t think it takes so long because certain players take a minute rather than 40 seconds. There are courses that are longer and tougher and you are never going to get round somewhere like Erin Hills in a decent time.
“At the Made In Denmark it was taking five hours and 20 minutes and that wasn’t a long course but it was breezy and the way it was set up with driveable par 4s and reachable par 5s it just took ages and was carnage.
“David Howell mentioned that it will stifle creativity and he’s dead right, if you’re in the trees you might think what would Seve do and take a couple of minutes. You sometimes need a bit of time. I won’t play in Austria but I’ll support the tour and I’m happy to be proved wrong if something good comes of it.
“It will be interesting to see how much quicker the rounds get, I suspect it will be quicker but I hope they set the course up as normal and don’t try and manufacture the timings. It’s a fiddly course so I don’t think they will.
“I’m told this is Keith Pelley’s idea and some players on the committee disagreed with it so it’s on Keith.
“There are guys who are very slow and I don’t enjoy watching it, a couple have been fined over £10,000 this season which is a lot of money so it will be interesting to see.”
Preferred lies at Italian Open perpetually
“To be fair they’ve changed venues for 2018 and it will be in May so I don’t think it will be preferred lies.
“I was writing the manifesto while I was in Italy and posted it a couple of weeks later so it was on my mind.”
Paper water bottles at all events – be an environmentally friendly Tour
“At one event this year we did have this. My girlfriend is really into the environment and doing the right thing, it would be a nice thing to do and it might appeal to newer sponsors.
“Commercially it might not be viable but it was nice to have it at one event. This was actually a serious point.”
Vegan options at all events for the Australians
“I heard Brett Rumford talking about going vegan at one event and obviously the Australians are renowned for eating healthily and liking their food so I thought I’d give that a little mention.”
24/7 camera on Tyrell Hatton
“I was writing it around the time that he was getting a lot of coverage and getting some stick on Twitter.
“Tyrrell is entertaining to watch whether you like it or not. We played for the same county in our amateur days and we get on well, I would always side with the player and give him the benefit of the doubt but when you watch him it doesn’t look good. But that’s Tyrrell and he needs to get angry.
“The first five years of his career will probably be the toughest and he will get a reputation but I don’t take things seriously so I find it funny. I understand that some find it off putting or that it’s being a bad role model but I don’t think like that as I don’t really care for role models.
“He’s purely reactionary and he has always done that, it’s not for show.
“His standard of golf in recent months will probably have mellowed his mood but, then again, he expects so much and he is so in the moment. It almost wouldn’t matter if he won the Masters, the next week he would still be getting very angry on the greens.
“He’s a great golfer and I really like his caddie Jon Bell, he’s a great laugh and is funny and I’ve got a lot of time for the pair of them.”
Provide Alex Noren with moisturiser on 1st tee and 18th green
“I probably should have put hand moisturiser. I put 1st tee and 18th green as they would be the only time you would shake hands with the player.
“I don’t seem to remember seeing Alex as much on the practice ground but we’ve probably only been in the same event about three times this year.
“He was always bashing balls in the past and those calluses were something else. I have played golf for 20 years and have some but they’re nothing like him.
“The amount of practice he has done to get those is astonishing – it was in Abu Dhabi so he’d obviously gone a bit mad in the winter.”
Introduce a bill eliminating the possibility of any fines being handed out through activity on Twitter
“I have come off Twitter a couple of times. I tweeted something about Irish people and potatoes which was said purely out of complete ignorance and the next time I had had a few drinks and woke up the next morning and didn’t like what I had written so came off it.
“Now I’m back on it so this deal would purely be to benefit me.
“Nothing really gets to me and I don’t take things very seriously which is good and bad and I don’t get offended enough to get angry. Some people are trying to get a response or just being nasty and some open themselves up to a witty response and there are some comments that I struggle with but I do think about it and give it some thought.
“With the advent of the 280 characters I’m hoping that it’s going to bring some good things for Eddie Pepperell in 2018.”
Do away with appearance fees
“At one tournament this year, a Rolex event, someone was still getting paid to be there which really surprised me.
“It does happen, Abu Dhabi would be one where it is most extreme where they might be paying out $5-7m to a few guys with prize money of $3m. I understand why it happens and it is a business model that works with the fields that it gets but it’s unfortunate for players like myself.
“If I was a top-10 player in the world I would put it back into the prize fund and I would do that to make a point and I would probably be forced not to play the event.
“That would put a lot of people in a difficult position, maybe including myself, but I don’t really care about that. I just don’t like the principle of someone showing up and being paid two or three times more than the winner.
“I want to be playing in an environment where you get paid for how you perform which is the beauty of golf.
“I guess it would happen the majority of weeks and they will try and get one marquee player and paying them $100,00 to get there.
“The Rolex instance genuinely surprised me as I thought the whole point of the Series was to get people to show up as there was $7m on the line. He was a major winner but I still didn’t really get it. They asked and they got.”
Allow dogs in players’ lounge
“I know Edoardo Molinari took his dog to one event and he got some access all areas treatment.
“Gus, who we’ve had for about seven months, would be up on the tables in the players’ lounge so maybe he could go in the caddies’ one.”
If you don’t follow Pepperell on Twitter then you should, better still make a point of reading his blog where, in both, he succeeds brilliantly in mixing the funny with the irreverent and the serious which is quite a skill.