PR and Marketing for the Golf Industry

The Open – Day five

The Open – Day five

16. 7. 2010

The day started with a really heavy downpour. You can easily have four seasons in day but in St Andrews this week it can be in one hour! The rapidly changing weather did not put the visitors off however. The grandstands were pretty full yesterday afternoon with enthusiastic golf fans covered in waterproofs cheering on their favourite players.

I had a unique chance to be close to all the players yesterday when I was assisting with taking the golfers to their media interviews. It is an excellent experience and one most golf fans would love to have. Most people will think that when a player finishes his round, that´s it and they can just go back to their hotels. The reality is that they still have work to do before they can relax.

The first thing the player needs to do right after the golf is to go to the recorder´s office and hand in his score card. This is a very important procedure and once the door closes behind the players it creates a real feeling of expectation. It is not dissimilar to the feeling you’re your student days when you were waiting outside the lecturer’s office to learn the results of your exam.

Then the media merry-go-round starts and it can get very busy depending on how big a demand there is for the player. There are three media posts – TV, radio and written press. Some players will be taken to all three in that particular order. There is a little stage in what is normally the R&A car park built specially for the purpose of TV interviews with the stunning backdrop of the 18th green of the Old Course providing the perfect background behind the player. Should the weather conditions get really severe, there is an indoor option too. The St Andrews Links Shop behind the 18th green is now “buried” under one of the grandstands and inside it has been transformed into a temporary locker room equipped with ultra-modern TV technology. That is where the TV interviews also take place.

The backdrop doesn’t matter for the radio interviews so they are done anywhere within the primary zone which is the area in front of the R&A Clubhouse. The written press zone is located behind the Old Course Starter’s Box and that’s where the journalists get the opportunity to ask a few questions right after their requested player finishes his round. It is a massive operation and everything has to run smoothly because the players are obviously keen to get away after they have been out on the course for five hours, especially if it has been raining.

It can be a rather delicate matter to ask the players to do interviews if they haven’t played well or are just tired after the round and want to get away to freshen up or meet their family and friends. They are professionals, however, and most of them agree to speak to the media. Phil Mickelson did not perform as he would have liked yesterday and he still agreed to an interview. Most players realise it is very important for the fans to find out how they got on through the media coverage.

To learn more about my week behind the scenes at The Open Championship follow this blog…

Posted on June 6, 2011 by admin@golfcomms

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