The inevitable and inexorable demise of golf on the BBC has left me a little uncertain as to where my broadcasting may or may not take me this year. It’s now a full ten years since I started doing some work for Sirius XM radio out on the PGA Tour in America and I had a very happy three years travelling back and forth until ageing parents, and a huge desire to be closer to home at that time, called a halt to my transatlantic travel.
I was, therefore, understandably thrilled to reconnect with Sirius XM, in partnership with WestwoodOneSports at last year’s final major championship, the USPGA, at Whistling Straits. As so often happens, one thing led to another and WestwoodOne invited me to be part of their broadcast team for The Masters.
And I turned them down.
Yep – you read that correctly. I turned them down because I love The Masters. I wanted to park myself in front of the box and watch every single shot, preferred beverage at hand. You see, at The Masters, there is no inside-the-ropes access for on-course commentators or photographers. That’s a bonus for everyone else watching the golf as the fairways are “clean” with only the caddies and players on the fairways. But, for me, I knew it would mean being stationed at various broadcasting points watching the players go past, rather than being down there, in amongst the action, and doing a full round with a featured group.
So, I said no thank you. And walked into a veritable storm of disbelief and incredulity from friends and family alike. So, thank you, Mike Eaby, VP, Sports Administration of WestwoodOne. Mike emailed me in January to say they were finalizing their crew and had I any further thoughts? He’s now minus a hand!
I had a wonderful week with a highly talented and skilled team. While reflecting on my “near miss” I put together a list of some of the things I was able to enjoy simply because I was there. They would not have been available to me from my own armchair.
• A sneak peak at the nurseries where thousands of reserve azaleas and shrubs are tended
- Chatting with Rory’s Dad, Gerry
So, there you go. As with any close shave, I am breathing a huge sigh of relief that I got a second chance.