Those outspoken critics of mine who think that I lead a cushy life should have accompanied me over the weekend as I fulfilled a gruelling assignment in the Algarve. For a start, my Faro flight left Gatwick at 6.20 in the morning. Ordinarily I would need several days to recover from that. On this occasion, however, I was required on the first tee at San Lorenzo just after midday. Severe jet-lag surely explains my uncharacteristic display of poor putting and sun cream on the grips (the temperature was up there in the mid-70s) was undoubtedly responsible for some wayward drives.

The next day I had to be up at the absurdly early time of 10am for a press conference to announce that the Portugal Masters is to have a prize fund of over three million euros. The Portuguese Tourist Board is supporting the tournament as part of its drive to maintain Portugal?s status as a premier golf destination. Fortunately for them, there was no time for questions afterwards otherwise I would have demanded why it was they were wasting their money making rich golfers even richer when they should be spending the cash on more press trips, upgrading visiting journalists? flights to business class and putting the press into world-class, five-star hotels.

Bradley Dredge, who was half of the Welsh team that captured the World Cup at the Victoria course in Vilamoura, was re-visiting the scene of one of his greatest triumphs. I would have liked to have asked him what it was like having to go through life with a name seemingly lifted from a Dickens novel, but there was no time. Instead, I had to plough through a huge buffet lunch.

For most people, that would have been enough for one day but, ever the investigative journalist, I felt an enormous obligation to see if the Victoria course was really as spectacular as it looked and so squeezed in 18 holes when I really should have been resting. Anyway, for those that are interested, it was.

Although I had to return to drizzly England the next afternoon, I was more or less obliged to complete my research and tee it up at Vila Sol in the morning. Although thoroughly drained, I can now say with complete confidence that the Algarve is indeed a wonderful place to play golf. Perhaps that?s what distinguishes me from most other journalists; in order to get at the truth, I?m prepared to go the extra kilometre.