How would you do in front of TPC Scottsdale's baying crowds?
In this edition of Fourball I’m joined by Steve Carroll, Alex Perry and Dan Murphy to discuss the burning matters of the week…
It’s 5pm Friday afternoon at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where would you hit it at the 16th?
Steve: Into the stand. Or even over the stand. Basically as far away from the green as it is possible to be.
Alex: Well Mark, at 163 yards I am going to attempt to take a little off a 6-iron and chunk it off the front of the tee. Then stiff an 8.
Dan: I have been lucky enough to play TPC Scottsdale on two occasions. The truth about the 16th is that it is as bang average a par 3 as you would find on tour – were it not surrounded by grandstands. Under any other circumstances, there is no reason a half-competent club golfer wouldn’t plonk a mid-iron on to the green. Given the scenario you present, I have a feeling the upper-toe area of the club might be involved more than it should be.
My verdict: I hadn’t realised it was that long though at least that means it would be a full shot; so probably try and step on a 7 and do what I always do when faced with something that I’d like to do well – obsess about finding the hosel and then tug the arse out of it and then face an awkward and drawn-out knee-high drop to rowdy jeers. I’d probably then withdraw from the tourney.
If you were a struggling/rookie European Tour pro would you play in Saudi Arabia this week?
Dan: I’m not sure you would have got a place, what with the likes of DJ, BK, JR and BDC jetting in – just for the new cultural experience, I’m sure. In reality, I don’t think you’d have much choice. Playing opportunities at this time of the year for such players are extremely limited – you’re not playing in Europe until May, and any starts you can get will involve travelling to Australia, Malaysia, Kenya, Oman, Morocco, Qatar and India. So you’re not in a position to turn Saudi Arabia down.
Steve: I’ve been getting on my moral high horse about this. It’s a difficult one, particularly for a rookie whose European Tour starts could be limited depending on their playing category. But I’ve never been to the Middle East – primarily because I have some idealistic concerns over the way people can be treated over there – so I’m pretty sure I’d abstain even if given the opportunity.
Alex: If you are going to take the moral high ground on these things, then you’d never play anywhere on the ‘European Tour’. OK, Saudi Arabia is at the wrong end of the bad countries scale but some of the game’s biggest names are playing so I will use that to make myself feel better.
My verdict: I always used to be very disappointed in those who played at Sun City back in the day and this is much the same. I’d hope that I wouldn’t play here, much the same that I’d hope that I’d turn down 18 holes with Donald Trump.
Would you like to go for a pint with Bryson DeChambeau?
Steve: Bryson doesn’t go for a pint, does he? Surely he has perfected a home super brew based on an exhaustive mathematical theory and obscure fermenting practice that only he understands?
Alex: Of course I would. He fascinates me and I’d love to see him after a couple of looseners. I can see him on the dancefloor with his T-shirt tied around his head by the end of the night.
Dan: Oh yes. I reckon I could hold my own in a conversation about the history, brewing methodology and health benefits (ahem) of Guinness with Bryson for at least a quarter of an hour. And then we’d always have the Walker Cup at Lytham, when I watched him playing singles against Ashley Chesters. Now those two don’t even look like they are playing the same sport when on the golf course.
My verdict: Apparently he’s not a boozer. He said he was going to celebrate the win in Dubai with ‘maybe wine’ and then some chocolate milk. I think I’d like to go for a long walk and a relaxed chat with Bryson, I think he might get a little bit too intense after a few snifters and get a bit shouty.
I would, though, like to spend a lot of time in his company. I couldn’t care less how slow he is, I think he’s sensational.