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 Open edition of Fourball, Dan Murphy, Mark Townsend, Alex Perry and James Savage take to the tee to discuss Tiger Woods, Carnoustie, and much more…
Dan: Would you be bothered if this turned out to be the last Open at Carnoustie – at least for a good while?
Mark: Yes, in terms of viewing it’s amazing and I like the smaller crowds as it’s all more doable. It’s still electric enough. There are plenty of other courses that I’d like to see drop off before Carnoustie. The players are better judges than any of us and, if they’re happy which they seem to be, then all power to this corner of Angus. Plus I love the back streets where the media bus takes us.
Alex: I would be bothered, yes. It’s a good challenge for the players with one of the better closing stretches on the “rota”. It’s also a wonderful viewing course for the fans. I’ve made my feelings clear that The Open needs to go to more places, but I don’t want to see courses as good as Carnoustie lose it for good.
James: If we’d had wind and rain all week I think people would have been getting a bit bored watching the players struggle. The firm conditions have actually made it fascinating but I’m not sure we’d ever get a week like this again. There’s been such variation in the way players have played certain holes. I think 10 years between venues is about right.
Mark: Let’s revisit a previous question but in a slightly different form. I have £20 in my hand and it’s yours if you can make par at any hole at Carnoustie. Which hole are you choosing? And it can’t be the par-5 14th, which everyone is hoovering up.
Alex: Probably one of the first three holes. All relatively short par 4s that suit my shot shape. All I have to do is find the green in two. Easy, really, this golf lark.
James: Definitely not 16, 17 or 18. Probably the third as you can hit a mid-iron off the tee then have a short iron in. Or maybe the par-3 13th if the pin in the middle of the green.
Dan: I think the 4th is the least intimidating hole at Carnoustie. It’s only 400 yards, you can bale out down the right and the green is enormous and flat. That said, turn one over and you are in a burn and it’s into the prevailing wind so it’s not exactly a giveaway. By the way, for the club player the 14th is really intimidating. You drive across the line of the fairway and the enormous spectacle bunkers are then staring at you when you approach the green. I haven’t seen a player in them this week but, believe me, they are in play for most of us.
Head over to the next page, where the team discuss the R&A’s Carnoustie set-up and Tiger Woods’ comeback…