Chris Bertram gives an hilarious insight into a largely soul-destroying week spent trying to interview European Tour players
6. Friends reunited
I’ll grab someone on the range as they’re walking to or from their pyramid of Pro V1s and they’ll stop to talk for the “quick two minutes (obviously I mean four really, maybe six to be honest)” I politely asked for.
They’ll start to answer and then they’ll spot someone – and often it feels like literally any conscious human being vaguely in their eyeline – walking past that they can start talking to instead in order to end this living hell with me.
Do I desperately keep the recording going and wait for this superstar to return?
Or do I remember I have some pride and slink off to let these ‘great’ old mates chat?
Of course I always stay.
Usually to the tour player’s visible annoyance. I get my four minutes though.
Ian Poulter, sorry to be such a wearisome pain.
7. “Dan. Dan. Dan! Dan! DAN!”
There are two parts to this. The first is when I’ll spot someone 100 yards away who is not looking especially busy, and thus ripe for picking.
But they’re walking in the opposite direction so I need to catch them up before they reach their safe place (courtesy car). Attempting to rein them in without running always feels a bit like a cross between Peter Kay’s ‘dancing to the dance floor at a wedding’ observation and Alan Partridge trying to get Dan’s attention in the car park.
Then I’ll get there, sometimes literally as they reach the car. They can smell the safe haven of their BMW’s leather seats so usually can’t resist telling me to try tomorrow – or sometimes to email them.
I know what you’re thinking – ‘Wake up Chris, it’s a classic brush off’ – but I’ll faithfully record their email address on my iPhone (which always seems weird as they lean towards the phone and talk into it in at a hilariously slow speed).
But you were correct. To this day, this method has never elicited a single reply.
Mikko Ilonen, I only want to ask you about your favourite courses in Finland!
8. The double date
You’ll see a prime target hitting balls on the range. The ‘running interview’ would be fine and something tells you he will do it.
But OMG is he hitting a lot of balls or what? It’s OK though, because you’ve got another 45 minutes before your appointment with some Callaway staffers for some instruction on the 16th green. He will surely be finished before then, he’s been hitting drivers for half an hour already.
You stand there, patiently waiting, probably grabbing Joost Luiten for his verdict on the courses of the Netherlands as he walks past, to fill in the time.
But the time ticks round and he’s still hitting drivers. So you have to give up this A-Lister and go to the 16th to see James Morrison (he was good value TBF) praying he might be still there when you get back.
Obviously he isn’t.
Bryson DeChambeau, I’ll try again next year.
9. The saga
You’ll be in touch with an agent or equipment company PR before the week about “some time” with a player. It sounds promising and it’s probably a big name so you build your week around nailing it.
Then it becomes a horrific game of cat and mouse where you feel like you’re 15 again and asking the same girl out about three times a day and getting either no reply or, even worse, a dismissive one.
Any time you see this feted figure, you just feel like going for it and telling them that “Jon from TaylorMade said it was OK to grab a word” and blind him with officialness by saying you “hope they told you I might be asking you?”
But he’s a Ryder Cup player and major champion, so you don’t want to ruin the whole thing by diving in.
This desperate game will play out all week. There is always one every year.
From seven visits, the current tally is: three times I got him, four times I didn’t.
Dustin Johnson was one of the three, and surprisingly made the agonising game worthwhile.
10. The no-look brush-off
The nadir. The soul-destroying trip to hell that tells you you’re the most insignificant person in the world. The uber-cringe scenario that makes you feel like you are stealing oxygen from this gilded tour star.
It classically occurs when the player is idly fiddling with the clubs in his bag doing absolutely nothing and talking to absolutely no-one.
So you definitely know you’re not interrupting anything important when they reply (without eye contact) to your achingly polite request for a couple of minutes of their time with “No, not now.”
They’re just being a total ****.
And then you’ll phrase it slightly differently, to encourage them to think the fastest way to get rid of this overbearing ameoba that’s approached them is to just answer his inane questions and be done with it.
But no, he just wants to be a total ****. And flicks his 5-iron against his 6- for added dismissiveness as he says “No, I’ve got things on.”
It happened last year in January and the burn is still very real.
Paul Casey, did it have to be like this?