Our press officer takes you behind the scenes at the Belas Clube de Campo Senior Open de Portugal.
English Senior Tour players swing low as England stay alive in Rugby World Cup
Nerves were jangling and tensions were high at Belas Clube de Campo on the final day, and that was before the majority of the players even got out on the course as the English and Scottish European Senior Tour stars gathered in the bar to watch the crunch Rugby World Cup match between their respective nations.
Leading the pack were Gordon Brand Jnr of Scotland (L) and England’s Roger Chapman (pictured above), who are very close friends but sentiments were thrown aside during the tense group match.
Chapman, an avid rugby fan, didn’t look best pleased as England trailed for most of the match but was a picture of relief when Chris Ashton bundled over a late try.
While the sound from the TV was off in the clubhouse bar, there was a rather fitting song booming from the speakers when the final whistle blew.
It was Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive”!
Meeting of fate as Barrett meets childhood hero
There was something of a meeting of fate this week in Portugal when Belas Clube de Campo’s club professional, Keith Barrett from England, bumped into the European Senior Tour’s referee (and the tour’s resident legend) Guy Hunt.
For Hunt, who played in the 1975 Ryder Cup, was one of the main inspirational figures that set Barrett on course for a career in the game.
Barrett, who is from England, was first introduced to golf when he attended the 1972 Piccadilly Medal tournament at Hillside, close to where his father owned a house.
Tommy Horton was the eventual winner but it was Hunt who was the defeated finalist in the matchplay tournament and when Barrett bumped into the referee in the Belas Clube de Campo Senior Open de Portugal, he had to share his story.
Circus-like (Finnish) finish leaves Senior Tour stars bemused
One of the more bizarre aspects of the media presence at Belas Clube de Campo was the appearance of a Finnish television crew from Televisão Finlandesa, who are travelling Europe and visiting golf courses around the continent.
While the interviewer, a rather eccentric figure, has reputedly interviewed such luminaries as Madonna and Robbie Williams, we couldn’t help but notice how star-struck he was when introduced to the likes of Costantino Rocca and Carl Mason.
Nevertheless, he asked many of the European Senior Tour’s players a range of questions about their careers but it was the final request which had some of the golfers blushing a little.
He asked them to state their name and follow up by saying “…and it’s all about golf!” He would then gesticulate for the players to lean back with their arms slightly outstretched like some kind of rap music video.
While most of the players were happy to say the line, they were all too aware that they probably couldn't pull the pose off like Jay-Z or Kanye West could and Gordon Brand Jnr was one who certainly wasn’t feeling up to it, saying, “I’m a golfer, not a clown!”
Players reach for the Sky(bar)
On the evening before Europe’s top senior golfers got down to business at Belas Clube de Campo, they got to relax a little bit with a cocktail on the rooftop cocktail bar at the magnificent Tivoli Lisboa Hotel in the centre of Lisbon.
There were spectacular views to behold at the Skybar on Wednesday night, including the beautiful Castle of São George which overlooks the city as well as the Tagus River.
The players’ reception didn’t go long into the night as the players all had one eye on the first round’s play but an enjoyable night was had by all.
Pictured above is Ian Woosnam with Alexandre Solleiro, the CEO of Tivoli Hotels and Resorts, at the Skybar reception.
Woosie doesn’t crumble under journalist’s flaky question
Ian Woosnam is a man very much accustomed to the ins and outs of press conferences but the Welshman was certainly caught off guard during the press gathering after his practice round at Belas Clube de Campo this week.
After the few token openers about the course, his form etc, one of the local journalists pulled one out of the bag, asking Woosie if he has had a chance to try the local pastries.
After some humming and hawing, he replied, “Pastry?! Erm, well there was a cupcake-kind-of-thingy in my hotel room yesterday and it was beautiful - three of them actually and I ate them all in one go, I was hungry!”
We're not quite sure what kind of newspaper story emanates from such questioning but hey, there’s one thing we never knew about the former Ryder Cup Captain; he enjoys a good pastry.
We strongly encourage any such left-field questions in future!
Little dune buggy (hopefully not in the sand)
It’s been quite hot at Belas Clube de Campo this week, with temperatures consistently in and around the 28-30 degree mark and, as a result, many of the players found Wednesday’s practice round rather difficult.
Not only are the temperatures soaring, but the course, located just outside of Lisbon, is one which features plenty of hilly terrain, making it difficult for even the fittest Senior Tour players this week.
A resolution has been found, however, in order to ensure the safety and best health of the players.
They will be employing buggies for the tournament in order to battle the tough conditions and now we can only hope that they resist the extremely strong temptation which any golfer who has ever used a buggy knows all about, racing their playing partners to the next tee!
Keep it safe lads!
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