I’m happy to tell you which players are the funniest, coolest or best to interview, but when it comes to hanging out in the bar, there’s nothing much to report in this highly professional era
Wayne Riley Q&A: Who’s Who Out On Tour
I have been out on tour as an on-course commentator for many years now, and it’s a lot of fun being in and around the best players in the world.
It gives me a chance to see their personalities and get involved in some of the banter.
I’m constantly asked what life is like on tour, so I thought I’d give you an insight into the players who make professional golf so entertaining…
Who is the funniest player on tour?
I’d have to say Matt Kuchar, because he’s such a goon. I just look at him and I giggle. At the Valspar Championship, home of the ‘Snake Pit’, I got him with a fake snake. He didn’t respond swearing or anything, he just said, ‘Oh, golly’. Who uses the word ‘golly’? He’s an amusing guy as well, naturally funny.
Which player is best with the media?
For me, it’s probably Graeme McDowell. He talks very well and it wouldn’t surprise me if he ended up in the media. But I know he’s into his restaurants and it’s not like he needs the money!
Who do you most enjoy interviewing?
Someone who’s happy, not someone who’s had a shocker! When you have to interview someone who’s just shot 78, it’s very difficult. But you’re just doing your job. Let me tell you, it’s not particularly pleasant interviewing Lee Westwood when he’s in a foul mood!
What do you hear in your ear?
I listen to what you’re listening to. I hear the whole broadcast. All I get in addition is the voice of my producer, who will let me know when it’s my turn to speak and fade my microphone up.
Who do you stop and watch on the range because of their ball-striking?
The noise the ball makes when it comes off Henrik Stenson’s club is something else. But when it comes to Rory, you’ll see other players stopping and watching. They act as though they aren’t, but they are. I watch them do it!
Which player would you least like to be stuck in a lift with?
Jason Dufner. Every time I try to talk to him he just looks at me vacantly. If you stood in a lift with him and said, ‘Hello’, I’m not sure he’d respond as he’s not the most talkative!
Which player do you most admire?
Ian Poulter. I think he’s managed to get so much out of his game and he’s made a great success of himself. There are plenty of guys who play better than him but he’s just got a heart the size of a lion’s. He’s worked hard and built himself a little empire. Good on him.
Which player is the most popular with his fellow professionals?
Bill Haas. He’s a true gentleman. There are so many people out here like that. Rickie and Rory are both well-respected and very popular. Ernie Els is another. The Dane, Lucas Bjerregaard, is a lovely bloke, and compatriot, Soren Kjeldsen, is extremely approachable. There are so many good guys, and loads who have a mischievous edge. There are always people playing pranks on each other!
Related: Wayne Riley: A different world
Who are the coolest players?
Martin Kaymer for me. He’s a cool guy and just goes about his business. And you know what, he doesn’t fly around in private jets or anything like that. He came to Austin for the WGC-Dell Match Play on an airline that would be the equivalent of Ryanair or EasyJet. He was cool as a cucumber and just looked a million dollars. He’s just not fussed by the flash lifestyle. Jeunghun Wang’s caddie – the guy who walks about with an upturned peak with ‘Wang’ underneath – has quite a lot of swagger.
Which player can you always find in the hotel bar?
All the players who are staying in a particular hotel will hang out at the bar, but the choice of drink has changed from years gone by. I don’t see anyone having a good few beers during tournament week. You might see Marcel Siem have a nice cold one before dinner, but that’s about it. I probably go out twice a week to restaurants when I’m travelling with the tour and I never see any players out and about. In terms of someone I’d like to be stuck next to in an airport bar when my flight is delayed, it would have to be Beef.
Wayne Riley is a former member of the European Tour and two-time winner who is part of the Sky Sports Golf Team. He writes exclusively for Golf Monthly.
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