With all sorts of uncertainty about what’s going to happen in St Andrews, and a Monday finish looking increasingly likely, the R&A might like to consider one of these methods to decide this year’s Open Championship.
1 – Duckworth-Lewis equivalent
There are many fine brains within the R&A so it shouldn’t be too difficult for them to come up with a method of calculating the likely winner from the action that has taken place so far, and previous experiences. A formula would take various criteria into consideration including: current score, past victories, age, number of birdies, putting average and any other stats they can get their hands on.
2 – Nearest the pin competition
Everyone gets a shot into the 18th hole with the man currently in last place playing from the championship tee. The rest of the field get to move one yard closer to the hole for every place they are above 156th. The leader should be playing his from 100 yards. Nearest the cup gets the jug as Open Champion.
3 – Hands in the air game
All the players assemble on the 1st and 18th fairway in front of the R&A clubhouse and Peter Dawson comes out on the balcony to compère with a loudhailer. At his signal, all the players must decide whether to raise their hands above their heads or to sit on the ground. He then spins a “wheel of fortune-style” ticker that will click around and point to either a hand or a bottom. If it shows the hand then all those with hands up stay in for round two; all those on their bums are out… This keeps going until we have our winner.
4 – Four hole speed golf
This one would be in the interests of promoting faster play, something the R&A is keen on… two birds, one stone… In the next break in the weather all 156 players will ready themselves behind a starting line drawn across the 1st and 18th fairways. Peter Dawson will sound a claxon from his balcony and they’ll be off. The sole objective is to complete the 1st, 2nd, 17th and 18th holes as quickly as possible – score is irrelevant. There will be one heck of a bun fight around the cup on the 1st, but after that things should calm down a little and, by the end we’ll have a worthy champion.
5 – Pub golf challenge
You can go to the pub in any weather so this could be played in even the most horrendous of conditions. Although getting between pubs could be unpleasant, the competitors will notice this less as the tournament progresses. The R&A will lay out a “nine hole” course around the town’s hostelries, with set drinks to be consumed in each. The players will forge out in fours and work their way around the loop until they are forced to retire. The player who completes the most holes wins.