Many golfers play four-ball matches, in which two play their better ball against the better ball of two opponents. Andy North and I partnered to win some four-ball events — the Raphael Division three times and the Legends division once of the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf — with an approach that can work for you. 

Most important, we’re old pals who are comfortable with each other. We were grinding the whole time, but we made sure to enjoy ourselves and not overthink shots to the point where either of us got too tense. 

We agreed on a game plan and stuck to it. The idea is to take the pressure off your partner’s relative weakness. When one player is a better driver, he hits second. The better iron player hits second on the par 3s. Let the better short putter go last. Our combined strengths were Andy’s long putts and my consistency, which kept us from making any big numbers. 

(North adds that a key is to find a great partner, preferably a five-time British Open champion in windy conditions like those at the Legends, then ride him hard and buy him dinner every night.) 


When in doubt, go with a good putter — I’ll pick the best putter I can if I have a choice of partners. Good putting can offset a lot of other factors. You’re rarely out of a hole with a good putter on your team. 

My all-time four-ball team — The best four-ball team I’ve seen is the Spanish duo of Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal. Their Ryder Cup record as a team was 11-2-2. 

Know when to say, ‘That’s good. Pick it up’. — I like to make opponents putt out for the first few holes and the last few holes. In between, concede a few to keep them guessing about whether they will have to putt. 


Andy North shined around the greens, and my strength was consistency when we won at the Legends.