Di Dougherty on presenting the Opening Ceremony

Golf News

The TV star and NCG contributor on her important role this week

Four years ago at Celtic Manor, former Sky Sports golf presenter Di Dougherty hosted the opening ceremony at the Ryder Cup.

This week at Gleneagles, she will again take centre stage.

Taking place on Thursday afternoon, this is where the teams are introduced to the fans and the following day’s opening fourball pairings are announced.

NCG: Are you looking forward to the Opening Ceremony?
Di: Absolutely. I was thrilled to have the honour in Wales at Celtic Manor in 2010 and I’m delighted to be part of the Ryder Cup again. 2010 was a real career highlight for me.

We know you are a veteran of these things, having done the same job at Celtic Manor. What’s the hardest part of the job?

Di: Getting the pace of the Opening Ceremony is key. Not too slow and not too fast. Also stage direction from my wonderful floor manager, Kate, is of the upmost importance. We have a rehearsal beforehand and blocking through enables you to visualise every part of the ceremony.

Do you get nervous and if so how do you cope?

Di: I get to the point where I am so ready to do it. I’m a huge golf fan so I’m just desperate for the golf to start! If you didn’t have any nerves then that’s the time to worry! Nerves fuel your performance when handled in the correct way. I like to stay pretty low key before a stage presentation and not use up too much energy.
"I’m a huge golf fan so I’m just desperate for the golf to start!" – Di Dougherty How much preparation and rehearsal goes into a task like this?

Di: The script has been going back and forth on email for the last few weeks and we have one big rehearsal two days before.

How different is it to you addressing a crowd as opposed to being in the studio?

Di: Thousands of people as opposed to a few cameras is a totally different kettle of fish!
Both stage presentation and studio work require different disciplines. Practice practice practice is the key. Also, a tip from Rob Brydon recently sticks with me. He told me to ‘feel the temperature of the room or crowd’. 
The point here is to react to how the audience are reacting with the correct intonation and expression. My thought process for Thursday is also to have as natural an approach as possible within the ceremony.

What are your memories of the Celtic Manor ceremony in 2010?

Di: Rain! Seriously, great memories. Great team work from the Sky Sports guys. Brilliant golf and an awesome crowd. The fans were superb. I also remember the American waterproofs weren’t waterproof! They had to buy new ones…

Most of the crowd are desperate to find out the opening pairings. Do you have to rush through all the official bits and is there a danger of it all taking too long?

Di: No. I think the crowd are obviously very keen to hear about the pairings but also love seeing the teams on stage and listening to the captains and officials. Again it’s about getting the right pace.

Finally, how do you see the match itself going?

Di: I’m obviously supporting Team Europe and I think Paul McGinley will lead his team to victory in Scotland.

• Di Dougherty is an ambassador for Lynx Golf, the UK-owned equipment manufacturer

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