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Wayne Riley is familiar to many golf fans as an on-course commentator on Sky Sports.
Still, while travelling the world offering expert analysis on some of the biggest tournaments may seem like a dream job, he has revealed it’s not as glamorous as many may assume: “When an event finishes on a Sunday night, you might have some time to go out for dinner and drinks that evening, but often you’re up early in the morning on the Monday.”
Riley then explained that Monday is probably the most chore-heavy day of the week, despite not being an official work day: “Monday is technically a day off, but it often doesn’t feel like that as there’s travel involved, plus I’m usually doing the books, putting in expenses claims and stuff like that. And I have so much laundry to do. Once I’ve done that, I’ll head to a shopping mall to have a look around. Then it’s back to the hotel and normally an early night as I’m up early on the Tuesday.”
As the next tournament nears, preparation takes precedence, although Riley says there is occasionally the chance for a little leisure time before the action starts: “Tuesday is the day where I film all my pieces to camera on course. We’re also often doing interviews on the Tuesday and Wednesday. We might get a bit of time off on Wednesday afternoon to explore whatever city we’re near, but generally, you’re spending a lot of time at the golf course. If we’re due to go on air at 1pm, say, we’ll be there around 10am. On Thursdays and Fridays, I’ll be out with the featured groups. Then on weekends, I’m usually out with the last group.”
But how does a Sky Sports commentator unwind when work for the day is done? While there must be the temptation to take in the nearest city’s nightlife, Riley says life on the road is not quite like that – at least nowadays. He said: “In the evenings, I might go to the hotel restaurant for a meal or two, but I spend most of my time relaxing in my room. These weeks are pretty full-on. Some of the guys will go into town for dinner most nights, and that’s what I used to do, but these days I tend to stay at the hotel.”
While Riley's work may be more mundane than many imagine, he has enjoyed some perks along the way, including arranging a round with Rory McIlroy after chatting to him at the Genesis Invitational, and the Australian still considers himself fortunate. He said: “I’m lucky to be doing what I’m doing for a living, but it’s very tiring. It’s not the glamorous existence a lot of people think it is, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.