Each week, four of the NCG team get together to ask each other the pressing questions. The only rule is the question must be golf related. In this edition, Steve Carroll, Dan Murphy, Mark Townsend and Keel Timmins take to the tee to discuss golf dress codes and much more…

Steve: I’ve never thought about taking a compass with me onto a golf course but obviously Bryson DeChambeau sees something in it. Now the PGA Tour are investigating, is this a big fuss about nothing – or the start of a slippery slope to all kinds of aids being allowed in competition rounds?

Dan: Bushnell offer range finders with a slope function for practice rounds that tells you how much difference playing uphill and downhill is likely to make. It’s interesting but I don’t think it does much to help me. The problem is that as smartphones continue to develop in functionality, there are so many things that are going to be in breach of the rules. I suspect it is going to be difficult, even impossible, for golf to police their use.

Mark: I love all this technology that we all kid ourselves is going to suddenly make the game so simple for all of us. You might have a laser or a Green Book or a snazzy shaft in some exotic driver but, if your swing isn’t working and your mind has gone to jelly, then none of it means a thing. Bring it all on – you still have to get your head on and get the ball in play with a 35mph wind shoving the ball towards some gunk and then you have to get the ball in the hole.

Keel: It’s just Bryson being Bryson. If he seriously believes that a compass is going to help him get the ball in the hole, then he can crack on. I doubt we’ll see any other players attempting this in the near future.

Dan: The R&A are gradually moving away from the concept of regional qualifying and the idea that any old club pro or amateur can come through and earn a spot in The Open. They are instead concentrating on assembling the strongest and most global field they can. Discuss.

Mark: Having qualifying at the start of Open week  ‘back in the day’ was a brilliant part of the Championship. These days we get a handful of tournaments on the other side of the world where four players, with a pic and a quote, are looking forward to their first Open. I’m a romantic and would love a Southport truck driver who comes through 36 holes at Monifieth on a Monday to play on the Thursday. This, however, probably doesn’t fit in with the idea of a ‘World Open’ and raising TV audiences in three other vast continents.

Keel: I like the unknown players coming through and producing great stories, but at the end of the day, it’s a major championship and one of the most prestigious tournaments in golf, and the strength of the field should reflect that.

Steve: The Open is becoming less, well, open. As much as I love watching the best players in the world playing relatively near to my doorstep, I also enjoy the potential rags-to-riches tale. One of the best stories that came out of the US Open – Mickelson aside – was fireman Matt Parziale making the cut when some very illustrious names were struggling. The Open will be the poorer for this trend continuing.

What irritates you the most about dress codes? And should the Ryder Cup qualification be scrapped in favour of captain’s picks? The Fourball continues on the next page…


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