They’re the new breed of American superstars – sharing a house, eating together, playing ‘soccer’ and generally just hanging. Mark Townsend went to see what it’s like in golf’s Open frat house
This year at Carnoustie, Zach Johnson, Kevin Kisner, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Jimmy Walker, Jason Dufner and Rickie Fowler all got together to share an Open frat house for the 147th Open Championship.
In truth it was two adjacent Open frat houses but that doesn’t sound quite as good.
The tradition began in 2016 at Troon when Spieth, Fowler, Thomas, Walker, Johnson and Dufner all roomed together. Kevin Kisner joined the mix this year. Between the seven of them they have won two of the past three Opens and have eight majors with just Fowler and Kisner yet to make the big breakthrough.
The following is a figment of my imagination. It’s Open Sunday at the Open frat house…
Thomas: Hey guys, anyone want to throw a ball around? Watch a movie? Maybe have a wrestle?
Fowler: We’re all kinda busy today, JT, got some golf to play? Maybe Jimmy will?
Thomas: I haven’t seen Jimmy for a couple of days now, what happened to Jimmy?
Johnson: Hey guys, and what a lovely Sunday it is too. Would anyone like to start the day with a bit of bible study? Me and some of the guys in the fellowship are getting together at 10am?
Spieth: I’d love to man, I really would but I’m teeing off at 2.45pm and I like to have at least four hours to warm up.
Thomas: What the hell happened to your hair, man? You know I like it a little longer on the sides..
Spieth: It will grow back. He didn’t understand me and I couldn’t make a word out he was saying. It will be OK in a couple of weeks. I still like your beard, you know that, don’t you?
Thomas: I know that, Jord. And thanks.
Spieth: You got it, JT.
(Doorbell rings. A pizza delivery boy appears at the door)
Dufner: I’ll get that…
Thomas: What ya get, Duf?
Dufner: I got Pepperoni Feast, an Hawaiian, a South Carolina BBQ and a Super Supreme. And some XL wedges. And some Nachos.
Thomas: I thought you were playing today?
Dufner: I am.
Thomas: Would you like a wrestle?
Dufner: I’m good, thanks.
(Kevin Kisner enters the room)
Spieth: Hey, Kis, my man. How did you sleep?
Kisner: Err, pretty good. I think I got about 40 minutes around 3am. How’d you sleep, Jord?
Spieth: Like a baby, Kis, like a baby. I had myself some pretty sweet dreams about lifting that pretty little jug again…
(An ashen-faced Kisner disappears to the toilet)
Dufner: Hey there, it’s Mr Dufner. Could you send out a dozen wings? (Pause) Err, barbecue. Thank you.
Thomas: How’d you get your moustache like that, Rickie? Do you think it might suit me? My beard is getting a little itchy now..
Fowler: This doesn’t just happen in days bruh, this tache has been years in the making. And it’s my USP, just like the orange stuff, so stick to your beard.
Johnson: Hey Jord, hey Rick, hey JT. Are you OK, Kis? Who do you reckon might be a good addition for next year in the house – Finau, Berger, List, the Reverend Jesse Jackson?
Dufner: I like Beef.
Spieth: The English guy, Johnston?
Dufner: That’s right, deep crust. (Puts phone down) Sorry Jord, you say something?
Kisner: Is anyone else really nervous?
Spieth: You have to go through the nerves, we all know that. We’re champions, we’ve all won majors. Not you, Kis, sorry. Oh, hi, Rick.
We’ve all won big tournaments, these things have to be uncomfortable. But the more you put yourself in these positions the easier it becomes.
You’ve got to keep knocking on the door and, sooner or later, it will open. Maybe more than once, look at 2015.
Kisner: How do you handle the nerves, Duf?
Dufner: I think we all know the answer to that one..
Kisner: JT? How did you feel on the Sunday at the PGA? I guess it helped winning back to back in Hawaii. And Jord gave me a pretty sweet little tip after Birkdale.
Kisner: What was it?
Thomas: I can’t tell you.
Debbie: Hi, I’m Debbie, you rang? From Hair Today Gone Tomorrow, the mobile hairdresser. Mr Spieth wants a trim at the Open frat house?
Spieth: Right here…
Thomas: Do you do beards?