Critics of mine (yes, believe or not, there are a few) who think that I have an easy life should have seen me last week in Abu Dhabi. I was there to help produce a 28-page, daily newspaper that was given away free to every spectator at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship. As well as tee-off times and all the usual stuff like a map of the course, it was packed with fascinating player profiles, in-depth analysis and intelligent comment. Now that I think about it, it was a sort of daily Golf Monthly, if you know what I mean.
There were only two writers and one designer working on this paper. It?s not important but I sought of promised I?d mention the other two in my blog and say hello to Robbie and Katie ? ?Hello, Robbie and Katie.? Robbie, who will be thrilled now that his name has appeared for a third time, and I were the writers, and Katie, who will be almost equally thrilled now that her name has also appeared for a third time, was the designer.
Because we two writers were outnumbered 14 to 1 by the pages, we had to arrive early (about 8am) and leave late (about 11pm). Consequently I ended up working more hours during the four days of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship than I do in an average month. That?s technically rather inaccurate, but you understand the point I?m trying to make.
Sitting in the press tent alongside fellow ?journo? legends like John Hopkins (The Times) and Lewine Mair (The Daily Telegraph) was a thrill, as was catching a fleeting glimpse of Ewen Murray and David Livingstone (Sky Sports) sipping coffee during their breaks from commentating. Gosh how I envied them; not so much for their colossal salaries and spectacular expense accounts as the fact that they left for their hotel shortly after the day?s play was over, while Robbie (that?s four!) and I had to write our stories while Katie (also four!) wrestled with her layouts. We didn?t leave that wretched tent until gone 11. And then we were up early the next morning to start all over again.
I would love to tell you all about the golf but I hardly saw any. All I know is that the winner, Martin Kaymer of Germany, is the new ?wunderkind? of European golf. That?s not all I know because, unlike Robbie (that?s five!), I also know that ?wunderkind? has two ?n?s.
As we didn?t have to produce a paper covering the final day?s play because there weren?t going to be any spectators there on the Monday to read it, I did manage to watch a few holes before leaving on Sunday lunchtime for my flight home.
Because I interviewed him a couple of weeks ago and thought what a delightful chap he was, I followed Benn Barham and his playing partner Rafa Echenique of Argentina for the last few holes. Having been stuck inside the tent all week, it was tough adjusting to the bright daylight but the little I saw of Benn?s golf impressed me enormously and I confidently predict that he will win at least one major before he reaches my age, which gives him loads of time to raise his game and me a chance to catch up on my sleep.