In this edition of Fourball, I’m joined by Steve Carroll, Dan Murphy and Alex Perry as we daydream about succeeding Tommy Fleetwood as the host of the British Masters…
Forgetting logistics, you can hold your British Masters anywhere you want, where would you take it?
Steve: Swinley Forest. I want my ashes spread on that strip of ground. It’s just perfect.
Dan: Can’t. Stop. Worrying. About. Transport. Logistics. Right, deep breath, let’s go to Kington, in Herefordshire. It’s the highest golf course in England, it’s less than 6,000 yards off the tips and there are no bunkers. The greens are tiny, the turf is crisp, the views are incredible. It would be the oldest of old-school tour events and I’d like to think the winner would be crafty, imaginative and play with a smile on his face. The locals would love it. It would secure Kington’s finances for the next century. And they’d motor round in under four hours. Actually they probably wouldn’t because there would be a lot of waiting for greens to clear. Hang on, I was told not to worry about the logistics. We’re back on.
Alex: Boring answer, but I will always campaign for tour events to be held in my homeland. I’ve always thought Royal North Devon could host an Open Championship, so with the R&A seemingly not interested I’ll take my British Masters there please. I’ve already started working on the one-way system in and out of Westward Ho!
Mark: Royal Porthcawl. Someone told me the other week that there are big moves to get the Open there so this would be a nice starting point. We’ll soon see what the Open does for golf in Northern Ireland and some of us would welcome a similar boost for golf in Wales. And it’s far too brilliant a course to stay out of the limelight for too long.
I’d have Land Of My Fathers and Calon Lan on a loop on the 1st tee from sunrise to sunset.
You have a break-the-bank budget to get one player along to your British Masters, who would you get? And you can’t have Tiger or Rory…
Dan: I don’t need the huge budget but I will require three places, please. I want Nick Faldo there because we’re in England. But there are views across to the nearby Brecon Beacons so we’ll need Ian Woosnam to draw the crowds. And Sandy Lyle, though Scottish, grew up in neighbouring Shropshire so he’ll attract some local support as well. It will be amazing.
Alex: Faldo (childhood hero), Jordan Spieth (best friend), and whoever is World No. 1 at the time. And if that happens to be Tiger or Rory, then sorry for breaking your rules. Alive or dead, you say? Five-time Open champion JH Taylor was born but a mile from RND.
Steve: I’d have to go for Phil, right? Could you have imagined Mickelson ripping up Close House with Rory and Sergio? That would just be insane.
Mark: I’d reunite Matt Kuchar with El Tucan to continue their winning run, likewise I’d have Sergio Garcia as a walking bunker raker in the pro-am and Bryson DeChambeau rolling the greens at 5.30am on Thursday. Thus righting some of the wrongs of 2019 and getting my tournament off to a cosy, feel-good start.
It’s your British Masters so what initiatives would you bring in? Would you tinker with the format, field, course?
Alex: We’d all have a pasty on the 1st tee (they were invented in Devon, don’t listen to those liars across the Tamar), a cream tea at the turn (I prefer the Cornish way of jam first, cream on top but we’re in Devon), and your choice of custard or rice pudding off the back of 18 (warm, not cold, you lunatic). All washed down with a pint of Dartmoor Ale.
Steve: There’s something pure about 72-hole strokeplay and I wouldn’t want to break tradition but if we’re going to change it then why not bring in something completely out of left field? Let’s have a Bogey competition.
Dan: Persimmon woods and bladed irons only please. This is going to be all about craft and we want to enjoy the shotmaking skills of the players in the gloriously sunny but breezy conditions.
Mark’s verdict: This would be the debut for the new ‘tournament ball’ which would guarantee more coverage than two of the majors. Welcome to the new rolled-back ball and welcome to a new world of long irons and normal scoring.
And 10 clubs maximum. Actually, make it eight.