As you would expect, golf has dominated the delightful series of after dinner conversations this week. Although sitting down with fellow journalists night after night might seem a little incestuous, at least the conversation flows as freely as the red wine that accompanies it as hacks are never short of opinions or reluctant to express them.
Last night we discussed replacing the rather weary Open Championship strokeplay format with something altogether more inventive. My preference is for the Perch Game. Ideally suited to threeballs, you get on the perch by winning a hole outright. And you score by winning another hole outright whilst on the perch. If you halve it, you stay on the perch but dont score a point. If you lose a hole whilst on the perch, whoever wins it climbs onto the perch. If no one wins it outright, the perch becomes vacant.
One of the many appealing aspects of the perch game is the constantly shifting allegiances as the two players not on it, seek to topple the other off the perch. So, one player from each first round threeball would survive to the second round and so on until after four rounds three players would emerge to contest the final. On top of its many advantages, it would enable the field to be expanded to 243, which is pretty well double the number that can be accommodated now.
Wherever possible, I think there should be one European, one American and one player from the rest of the world in each threeball A team event could then be run in parallel with the Open and each player who wins a first round match would earn his team Europe, USA or Rest of the World one point. There would be three points for a second round win, five points for a third round win, 10 points for a semi-final win and 25 points would be awarded to the Open Champion.
A great idea that would, in my opinion, ensure that the Open Championship remains the pre-eminent golf tournament in the world.