Nick Bonfield talks to Wayne 'Radar' Riley about the 'Round with Radar' franchise with Ping tour players
The ‘Round With Radar’ series sees popular Sky presenter, ex-European Tour pro and Golf Monthly columnist Wayne Riley take on a number of Ping tour players over nine holes at some of England’s most iconic courses.
The videos have proved extremely popular, with the players’ personalities shining through in a more relaxed setting and Riley’s engaging style coaxing out fascinating insight into life of tour and their association with the famous brand.
“It’s been great fun. In every one, we’ve managed to bring out their personalities and show a side to these guys that people don’t really see on TV. It’s great to see what they’re really like in their home environment,” says Riley.
“We were really able to do that with Lee Westwood. Now, me and Lee are always joking around and he’s like that with everybody, but on the golf course he can come across as quite stern. He’s not like that at all. He’s the coolest dude you’ll ever meet – just a nice northern lad who hasn’t changed one bit. I had a lot of feedback from people saying they didn’t know Lee was like that, so it’s good to be able to play a part in showing the viewers what these guys are really like.
“A lot of them were done in one take, too, because it’s such a relaxed environment. Each one was funny its own way, from Andy Sullivan, who never stops smiling and laughing, to Miguel Angel Jimenez, one of the coolest guys around.”
How did Radar find the Spaniard’s legendary warm-up routine?
“That’s not something that will make you laugh, it’s something that will make you cry!” he says. “He is so flexible it’s unbelievable. When he tried to get me to put my leg on top of my driver, I looked at him in disbelief. He’s nimble as.”
Riley says the videos were a chance for some of the younger players – the likes of Brandon Stone, Matt Wallace and Tyrrell Hatton – to see how things were when he was playing on the European Tour.
“We were serious about our jobs, but it was definitely more light-hearted. There were more personalities around when I was on tour,” he says. “ We were surrounded by nutcases from all different walks of life and corners of the world. Money changes things and so the tour has naturally become more serious and the number of personalities have decreased.”
But did the competitive element get the juices flowing and prompt Riley to think about the prospect of senior tour golf?
“No. I’ve done that and I’m very lucky that I have a second career. If I played senior golf I’d have to see those nutcases again!”
You can see some of the best bits from a ‘Round with Radar’ in the video above.