We catch up with two of the most entertaining figures in golf broadcasting...
“We’re A Match Made In Heaven” – John E Morgan And Kit Alexander Q&A
John E Morgan and Kit Alexander have formed an entertaining and insightful partnership on PGA EuroPro Tour coverage on Sky Sports Golf in recent years and their new podcast – Filthy Lipout – has exploded onto the scene since its launch last July.
Filthy Lipout has already featured some incredible guests, including Sam Torrance, Thomas Bjorn, Niall Horan, Nicolas Colsaerts, Nick Dougherty and Billy Foster, and they’ve got some very big names lined up in the near future.
Their enthusiasm for golf and connection with their guests shines through and it’s produced some of the most honest, interesting and humorous conversations you’ll ever hear.
We had a chat with two of the most entertaining people in golf broadcasting to find out a bit more about Filthy Lipout, their backgrounds and their unique dynamic.
First off, what were you guys doing before you started presenting the PGA EuroPro Tour?
JM: I picked up a club when I was six and it escalated from there. I played for my club, Somerset and England and then decided to turn professional in 2002. I got both my PGA and European Tour cards by the end of the year. The highlight would have to be the John Deere Classic in 2004 – the whole buzz of holing a long putt on 18 and being in a play-off. The fans pulled me along all day. Me and Mark Hensby went head-to-head and, unfortunately, I came up a bit shy. I had some other great events too. I died my hair blue when I was in America and had a great time. My playing career was a short burst. I’ve got epilepsy and had a few accidents and that forced me to put down the clubs in 2011. Luckily for me, the PGA EuroPro Tour, Sky Sports and the European Tour gave me the chance to show I could talk a good game as well as play one.
KA: I remember seeing John’s blue hair when I first got into golf at that time. I’m a journalist, rather than a former player. I started off in 2008 writing for Today’s Golfer and Golf World magazines. Dan Godding gave me the opportunity to do the player interviews on the EuroPro Tour in 2013 and it grew from there. I continued to write, but I started doing more broadcast work, getting in front of the camera and doing on-course commentary with the EuroPro and appearing as a guest on the Sky Sports Golf and European Tour podcasts in the last few years.
How did you first meet each other?
JM: The EuroPro was at Burhill early in 2013 and Kit was doing some interviews by the side of the 18 th green. That was the first time we really rubbed shoulders. We bonded straight away. We were both new at it, doing our thing and trying to learn the ropes.
KA: It was funny because the first few years we didn’t see each other that much in person because usually John would be filming his stuff on the Thursday and I’d be there on the
Friday for the final day. I remember that first meeting at Burhill because I was speaking to James Hepworth, I think, and John knew him pretty well so he came over and was having a laugh and a joke. John was stood behind me trying to put James off during the interview. Fortunately, I didn’t see anything myself but apparently his techniques over my shoulder were somewhat X-rated!
What role has working on the PGA EuroPro Tour played in where you are now?
KA: It’s been massive for both of us. I know I wouldn’t be doing what I am now without it. I was a writer until Dan put me in front of a camera talking to players. I don’t know if or when
I’d have looked at doing more broadcast work if it weren’t for that opportunity. I quickly realised I loved it and I was able to learn the ropes and improve in an amazing environment. The producer James Dawson, all the camera crew, the players, and the whole EuroPro family have played a part in where I am now.
JM: I’d say it’s experience and feeling comfortable in your surroundings with the other players. It’s a great place to get to know the young rookies when they come out on tour and how to interact with them when they’re nervous and approaching some of the older guys who play like Paul Lawrie and Phil Price. I learnt my craft for what I do now as an on-courser with Sky. I also learnt to pause, so you don’t rush it, because the more you get ahead of yourself you can stutter a bit or get conflicted with the words you’re going to use. You’ve got to be natural and relaxed like you’re talking to your mates.
How would you describe one another?
JM: I’ll let Kit answer that one first.
KA: I would describe John as everybody’s best mate. He genuinely puts a smile on people’s faces and brings energy to any situation. We’re very different people but a lot of the traits I’d like to see more in myself are the ones that John has – he’s the life and soul of the party and doesn’t care what other people think as long as he’s happy and putting a smile on the faces of the people around him. At the end of the day, he’s great bloke and a good person.
JM: I’d reiterate that back at you. You’ve definitely got attributes I wish I had, like being able to think a bit quicker and a bit more savvy about some things. He’s ahead of the game with his homework for interviews, whereas I’m a bit more off the wall. He’s very approachable and I love his passion for the game. He’s a proper geek when it comes to golf. Really and honestly, if there’s something I don’t know I can guarantee he will and he’ll know it in detail. He enlightens me and anyone around with a good buzz and good energy. I’d say we’re a match made in heaven – opposites attract.
How did the Filthy Lipout podcast come about?
JM: It came about in the original lockdown, as a lot of things have. I had a chat with Kit and said ‘do you fancy starting a podcast?’. Straight away it was bang, ‘yes’. Then we had to decide what to call it.
KA: It was almost a bit of an afterthought that we needed to come up with a name quite quickly. I was out on a bike ride with my girlfriend, Amy, and she was riding just ahead of me and I was shouting weird golf terminology and ideas for names at her as they popped into my head. Funnily enough, I think Filthy Lipout was the first one I shouted. But we put it out on social media, asked our friends and got a really long list of cool ideas. We whittled it down and did votes and Filthy Lipout was the winner.
JM: The nice thing was that we put it out to the people and ultimately Filthy Lipout was what the public chose.
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Who has been your favourite guest so far?
JM: I can’t call one in particular. They’re all so unique. We’re so lucky. We’ve done 19 episodes so far and we’ve had some amazing guests agree to come on and give us their time. I feel very privileged to work and rub shoulders with these guys and to be able to phone them up and ask them if they fancy having a chat and bringing out some old stories.
KA: It’s wonderful to be able to have these in-depth, deep and meaningful and also funny and entertaining conversations with so many different people. It’s the diversity of those people that makes it hard to pick a favourite and makes it so good. We’ve got everything from the stories of Sam Torrance, Rich Beem and Billy Foster, to current tour players like Bob MacIntyre, Paul Waring and Aaron Rai, the Ryder Cup tales of Thomas Bjorn, Nicolas Colsaerts and Chris Wood and the analysis and personal stories of guys like Nick Dougherty and Andrew Coltart who’ve played to a high level and now work as broadcasters. We’ve even had global superstar Niall Horan on to talk about his love of golf. Everyone has a great story to tell and their own way of seeing the world and I feel privileged that we’re able hopefully unlock that and share it.
JM: Both of us can talk the hind legs of a donkey so having a podcast where everyone else is doing most of the talking, it can be hard not to dive in, but the stories are so captivating that you can just sit back and enjoy the show. They come up with so many pearlers, you just think ‘this is heaven’.
KA: Some of the best bits for me have been when I’ve been able to sit back and just listen to John chatting with the guys he knows from the amateur days and early on tour. Some of those stories from John reminiscing with an old friend are absolute gold.
JM: The thing is, they can remember, and I can’t!
Why do you think you work so well as a pair?
KA: John has already mentioned it – opposites attract. We’ve both said there’s traits and attributes in the other person that we wish we had more of.
JM: Height is definitely one for you.
KA: True, I’d definitely like to be as tall as John. But maybe not as wide. But we bring out the best in each other and we both bring something the other person might not have, so as a team it works well. Aside from that, just because we’ve got such a great friendship it’s all wrapped up in us just having a great time together. Hopefully that comes across.
JM: I’m a bit of a wind-up merchant behind the scenes and I really know how to push Kit’s buttons. It’s really good.
What’s the most amazing golf trip you’ve done together?
JM: I like it when we get to play a lot of golf like when we get a few days together at the EuroPro Tour Champs. We can have a game on the golf course because I think you get a better understanding of the course for the coverage when you’ve played it. We’ve been very fortunate as well that Massey Travel hired me to go and do clinics at a couple of places and I got to bring Kit on board, which was handy. We went to the Maldives in 2019, which was brilliant, and Mexico in January 2020. We were there together for just under a week and got to play some golf, so that was heaven.
KA: John’s picked them out there. The Maldives was only a short-ish nine-hole course but what an experience in general. Mexico was great fun because we got to meet a lot of local golfers and help them improve. Seeing their faces light up when they hit so much better shots than they could have imagined was really special. The entertainment away from the course in Mexico was great as well. The EuroPro Tour Championship is always a great week, too.
What’s your favourite story from when you’ve been on your travels?
KA: the first one that springs to mind was last year at the EuroPro Tour Champs at Desert Springs in Spain. We were staying in a beautiful villa by the 2nd green with producer James Dawson and a couple of his mates who are playing the pro-am. We get there and dump the bags and as soon as they hit the floor John strips off, runs out the back door and jumps straight into the pool stark-b*llock naked. He has us all in stitches laughing to start the week. What a legend!
JM: I do things like that for the shock factor and good team morale! Mine is going to be from Mexico. We had a day off and they sent us on a whale watching excursion. Two Humpbacks came up right by the boat and they stayed with us for ages, going on their sides and rolling, dipping under the boat on one side and popping up on the other. It was an absolute dream. Even the guides were taking videos because they’d never seen anything like it before. Golfing-wise I really enjoyed playing the par-3 course under the floodlights at Amendoeira in Portugal.
KA: Yeah, that’s a lot of fun and two really good courses there.
JM: Actually, there’s another one. We were at Desert Springs with the EuroPro and Kit and producer James lost a bet to me. The par-3 14th is a beautiful hole played across a lake. They had to strip down to their undies – I’d have gone full bore myself – and swim to the other side then hit their shots onto the green and swim back. It just so happened thar Sir Ian Botham, who has a villa there, was getting to the tee as they did it. The clubs were slipping out their hands and the balls ended up in the water with Beefy laughing in the background.
What’s it like to play golf together?
JM: Interesting. Kit gets frustrated very quickly when things aren’t going his way because he feels like he can do a lot better. But then we all can.
KA: I’ve definitely mellowed with age. It’s all about having fun for me now, I try not to care about the score too much.
JM: You are improving. I could see a massive difference in your game in Mexico and you were playing some good golf.
KA: From my perspective, it’s a treat to play with John. The opportunity to play with a tour pro who’s played on the PGA and European Tour is what most amateurs dream of. I get to do it pretty regularly and he happens to be one of my best mates, which is amazing. The shots John is able to pull off and the ease with which he does it are a different game to what I play. John is such a gifted shot-makers and it’s just great to watch up close and personal. I get to see incredible shots and have a laugh as we go around, so what more would you want? Actually, he could give me more shots!
JM: It’s interesting that a lot of people focus on technique and when you play with me there isn’t much technique involved. I’m not thinking of anything. I’m very visual so I try and get a bit of my game to rub off on Kit.
What else are you guys working on at the moment?
JM: I’ve started a YouTube channel so trying to get that up and running. I’ve got a simulator and Foresight launch monitor set up at home and I’ve started doing some teaching as well. I’m loving doing the podcasts and the on-course commentary with Sky Sports on the European Tour and looking forward to getting back on the EuroPro Tour this year, where it all began.
KA: The podcast has been great, and I love being a part of the EuroPro Tour. I’ve started doing videos and writing for Golf Monthly recently as well. I also presented the Challenge Tour Grand Final in Mallorca at the end last year, so I might well be popping up on some of their coverage this year.
JM: Hopefully there’s more of the same ahead. We’re happy with what we’re doing, and it’d be great to work with Kit on the European Tour. We’d love to see the Filthy Lipout podcast keep escalating and we’re open for guests and sponsorship, if people want to get their brands and products out there. We’ve already had some legends on the podcast and there’s more to come.
KA: Absolutely. I love what we’re able to work together on now and hopefully we get to do even more – having a great time and adding some enjoyment and insight for other people who love golf like we do along the way.