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 At the 19th

A much more fun way to do it...

Politely attending a dull press conference in Abu Dhabi when Paul McGinley was named European Ryder Cup captain, I came to believe there’s a better way of doing things. Combining techniques used in the Eurovision Song Contest with those successfully employed by ITV’s X-Factor, just imagine what we might achieve – ‘The Eurovision Ryder Cup Captain G-Factor Show’...

A spotlight falls on a dinner-jacketed Ewen Murray. Murray: “Bon soir, guten abend, buona sera, buenas noches, good evening, och aye and welcome to Dale Hill Hotel and Golf Club here in the beautiful English countryside for the grand final of ‘The ‘Eurovision Ryder Cup Captain G-Factor Show.’

The cameras sweep round to reveal thousands of cheering golf fans waving inflatable clubs, banners, scarves and head covers. A number of stewards then hold up signs saying ‘Quiet Please’ and everything suddenly falls silent.

Murray: “OK, this is it… the final. Over the past few weeks we’ve said goodbye to such strong candidates for the captaincy as Chris ‘Dodgy Handicap’ Evans, Sir Sean Connery, Di Dougherty and the bookies favourite, DJ Spoony. But before we greet the three finalists, please give a warm welcome to your ‘Eurovision Ryder Cup Captain G-Factor’ judges… Sir Peter Alliss (applause)… Sir Terry Wogan (applause)… and Cheryl Cole (wild cheering, whistling and thunderous applause).”

“By now you should know how it works but let me remind you that all three finalists will sing a song. Each in turn will then be questioned by the judges before you, the viewers at home, will decide who will be the next European Ryder Cup captain. OK, please give a warm welcome to our first finalist… Colin Montgomerie.”

Dressed in full highland gear including a sequined kilt, Montgomerie starts to sing: “Oh, ye’ll tak’ the high rood, and I’ll tak’ the low rood, and I’ll get to Scotland afore ye; but me and my true love will never meet again, on the bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond.”

Ewen Murray leaps on to the stage and, to everyone’s relief, Monty stops singing. “OK, as a Scotsman, I felt obliged to bring that to a merciful end.” (Laughter).

Sir Terry Wogan asks the first question: “Monty, yes, ho-ho, right. Now, the next Ryder Cup is to be played at Gleneagles and who could possibly forget that sensational monster putt I holed on the 18th of the Kings Course. Anyway, in case any of you missed that particular Pro- Celebrity Golf programme, it was huge. Why, it was even bigger than...”

“Your ego?” interjects Chery Cole to much laughter. Wogan straightens his toupee and smiles weakly. “What I was going to ask Monty before I was so rudely interrupted is have you ever been to Scotland?”

“Yes, Sir Terry, I’ve not only been there but I’ve lived there. I am Scottish, you know!”

Sensing an embarrassing situation developing, Ewen Murray intervenes. “Well, thanks Monty. Now if you want to see Monty captaining the European Ryder Cup team again, dial 08666 99901. Now please give a warm welcome to our next finalist, Paul McGinley.”

Smartly dressed in a tweed jacket and plus fours, McGinley gives a reasonable rendition of ‘Danny Boy’. Sir Peter Alliss begins the questioning. “Well, young man, you are almost certainly best remembered for holing that wonderful putt on the final hole at The Belfry in 2002 to defeat Jim Furyk and win the Ryder Cup. I was a very youthful 71 back then and remember the day vividly because Colonel Huffington-Bore, who was then captain of the Honourable Company of Grizzled Veterans and Retired Buffers Golf Society turned to me and said: “Good old ‘GB and I’, we’ve finally stuffed the Yanks, Gene Sarazen and all.” Anyway, Mr McGinley, aren’t you a bit young to be captain?

“I’m only 46 now but I’ll be 47 by the time the Ryder Cup comes around.”

Ewen Murray leaps back on to the stage. “If you want Paul McGinley to captain our Ryder Cup team, dial 08666 99902. Right, now give it up please for our final candidate, Darren Clarke.”

Looking very angry, Clarke grabs the microphone. “I was going to sing ‘Danny Boy’ and a damn sight better than McGinley managed. But there’s no point in singing it again, can we go straight to the questions?”

Cheryl Cole leans forward. “I love the highlights in your hair, Mr Clarke. They’re so unusual in a man your age [laughter]. Anyway, what makes you think you’d make a good Ryder Cup captain?”

“You see, Cheryl, unlike the other two, I’ve won a major. Monty famously never won a major and McGinley never even came close. Winning a major makes me special and means I have the G-Factor.”

Murray: “If you want Darren Clarke to captain the European team, dial 08666 99903. Calls cost £1.50 and the lines close at midnight.

“That’s it. Monty, McGinley and Clarke can do no more. Now it’s up to you, the viewers. We’re back next week at the same time to choose where the Open is going to be played in 2017. Until then, goodnight.”

March 2013

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine


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