One of the best things about the Open 2016 compared to previous years… we were not alone.
Have you never listened to @theOpen radio? You should really. And I am not saying that (honestly) just because I am the presenter! But I am obviously biased. 50+ hours on air last year probably outstripped anyone else. While the BBC were showing some antiques re-run, we were in full flow at St Andrews. But here come Sky Sports in 2016 and they were actually on for longer than us! I can’t really comment too much on Sky Sports’ output as I was mainly on air myself. I watched some of the preview shows at the range with Robert Lee and Claude Harmon and I thought they were superb. And the feedback I have had from elsewhere suggests they did a first class job. Not that I expected anything else. But once the action was underway, I was watching world feed pictures and listening to our team in action.
By the way, I went into the production area at one point (pictured). Where do you look first if you are a producer or director? There were 101 cameras available!!
It’s not easy to be a producer for golf on the radio either but our production team maintain a terrific level of concentration and professionalism. They have to, if they’re going to put up with us!
The @theOpen Radio team, my “cow workers”! That was 1 of a few (coughs) slips (you are allowed them in 50 hours of broadcasting) I managed. One of the listeners tweeted us about my co-workers but left out the hyphen. Much amusement for all (except me!). I managed to call Bob Bubka (golf broadcasting’s equivalent of Barry White) “Bubba”. He didn’t mind. He’s been called worse.
We managed a marriage proposal on air… not for me (quelle surprise) but for Alison Walker (she declined… politely). Sue Thearle sat in as presenter when I was let out of our studio to venture out for a bit of on-course commentary by the Postage Stamp. She was probably relieved to get out of the elements for a while.
There was Ron Jones, the silky Welsh broadcaster that was once the voice of BBC football. I won’t give away Ron’s age but he could have given this all up a long time ago but for the sheer fact he loves it. The guy has incredible stamina. He can walk and commentate on 36 holes a day and still do an hour walk home (and I’m not kidding!)
John Morgan was with us at the Open for the first time this year and his energy is infectious. On Saturday morning, he went from one player to another to a caddy back to a player all in one hit. Admittedly, he struggled with one or two of the caddies’ names. But in typical style, her gets away with it, with an “it’s my main man” introduction.
Paul Eales was at his classy best, like a fortune teller at times on the course. We even managed to have a “heated debate” (RIP Carline Aherne) about testing the players. After Thursday’s benign conditions, I said wanted some of the bad weather. Ealsey wanted it nice and benign. Good job it didn’t blow too hard for him at Carnoustie in the Seniors then!
Raymond Burns is the softly spoken Irishman who doesn’t shout it loudly but believe me, he is worth listening to. And who doesn’t he know! We managed to get some wonderful insights with Ray and Paul going up the front nine with the likes of Harrington and Kjeldsen on Wednesday telling us how they are playing certain holes live on air.
Matt Adams will be familiar with people who listen to “Fairways of Life” on Sirius / NBC / Golf Channel. What he doesn’t know about golf isn’t worth knowing. Matt has been part of the team for a number of years now and I know I can ask him anything and there will be an educated answer coming back.
Our annual quiz, the “Weakest Links” lived up to its usual dose of comedy gems. Some of the guys who came on for our preview shows, most notably “Beeeeeeffff” excelled.
The golf itself. A slow burner that turned into One for the Ages. I can’t add anything really you have probably already read or heard. I was too young to be at Turnberry in 1977 but we had a taster of that on Sunday afternoon in Troon.
It’s always a week to remember and I am looking forward to Birkdale already.