AGW Committee Meeting with the European Tour

2018 DP World Tour Championship Media Centre, Dubai

Sunday, 18th November, 2018

Members of the AGW Committee – Chairman, Iain Carter, past Chairman John Hopkins and Derek Lawrenson, Secretary Bernie McGuire and with ‘Swammy’ Krishnaswamy joining the meeting.

Member of the European Tour -Scott Crockett, Michael Gibbosn and Clare Bodel.

AGW Chairman Carter prefaced the meeting thanking the European Tour for this further opportunity to discuss issues of importance with the Tour.

Review of the 2018 Ryder Cup

The Secretary pointed out a good number of AGW members who attended to the Ryder Cup responded to a survey with regards all maters at the Ryder Cup including media staff, transport, access and facilities.

It was agreed there was three main issues post the 2018 Ryder Cup:

  • Buses running on the hour and not more regularly.
  • The toilet facilities were poor.
  • Meals poor and poor variety along with long queues plus there those who worked late and with no access to a food service.

The Tour was praised for the media team in place along with an appreciation for the choosing of official hotels and parking.

The Tour agreed the three ‘talking points’ were very valid and thanked the AGW in expressing support for the choice of hotels given the pressure on the European Tour to source so many hotels for their own VIPs, supporters and staff and this also given the media hotels ‘were poor‘ at Gleneagles.

John Hopkins singled out for praise a scenario when one of the ‘on-the-hour’ buses was full and the bus co-ordinator managed to secure two 16-seater buses.

With regards the food, John Hopkins while not wishing to complain about a ‘free’ meal expressed support for the US media who were in the media center to late due to a US/Europe time difference.

It was also brought to the Tour’s notice many of the US-based journalists arrived expecting French power points and not UK and this would be addressed ahead of the 2022 Rome Ryder Cup.

Scott Crockett indicated the Ryder Cup team had recently visit the 2022 Rome site and with arrangements in place to source media hotels.

Access to players – It was mentioned some media members experienced problems in speaking to some players though the AGW considered in a broad view access to players was not a big problem. Michael Gibbons responded to complaints by some Spanish AGW members regarding access to Garcia that they had good access to Garcia on the Monday.

The Tour pointed out there was also considerable time with the players around the 18th green until Alex Noren ended his match.

Though it was mentioned by John and Iain there was not the opportunity to speak with the European players following the last press conference as they were being whisked away for photos and social media work.

The Tour’s Michael Gibson admitted this did happen but again highlighted there was time for the media had to speak with players around the 18th green prior to the last on-course match. Michael did say they would like to ‘formalize’ that going forward so the players are available after the winner’s press conference. Scott agreed with Michael’s point and would ‘take it on board’.

Media meals at Tour events – The Secretary pointed out that an AGW member travelled to the Tour events in Austria and Belgium only to find there was no provision for media meals and if it was not for the generosity of Thomas Pieters family there was no meals in place for the media.

The Tour indicated there was budgeting for lunches for the media but to get around any problems it was agreed the media could join the caddies for lunch while the Tour said there was media dining at the Shot Clock Masters in Austria.

Special access & splitting of interviews (BMW PGA/Irish/Scottish)DP World) – The AGW and the Tour agreed the special ‘pink lanyard’ conditions in place and the splitting of interviews (Electronic/Written media) as events such as the BMW PGA, Irish Open, Scottish Open and DP World Tour Championship was working fine.

Iain Carter raised an issue on behalf of a Spanish AGW member regarding access at Valderrama and after approaching the Tour it was ‘sorted’.  Scott responded saying that while they were continually looking at those media deserving of an AGW badge and revealed in changing to a new computer provider, the AGW section was ‘lost’ in the transition and it turned-out that while most AGW members deserving of full season credentials the Spanish member in question was overlooked in the transition.

2019 AGW endorsed European Tour media badges – 

Scott revealed that with regards to 2019 AGW badges instead of a photo of the badge holder there will in place be the AGW members badge and that will then appear on the tournament badge board.

And if there should be a scenario where an AGW member does arrive to a tournament without an AGW badge and is eligible the Tour can now process the badges on site.

John Hopkins praised the Tour indicating ‘that would delight a lot of our deceased members’ and the move is very welcome.

Scott added, and as an AGW member himself, he was conscious of restoring a fuller status for AGW members at the Tour’s events though the Secretary pointed out there was no media access at all to the locker-room at the DP World.  Scott indicated this would be addressed going forward.

Parking for media Wentworth/British Masters/Irish/Scottish Open –

The Secretary raised the point with three new venues again for the British Masters along with the Irish and Scottish Open’s that the Tour again give prominence to ensuring close parking for the media.

Jock MacVicar – Thank you to the Tour

The Secretary wished to place on record the gratitude of the AGW following the enormous assistance on the part of the Tour in helping arrange for the safe return of AGW President, Jock MacVicar back home to Scotland.

The Secretary indicated he had thanked CEO Keith Pelley in Turkey for the invaluable work of the Tour’s media team.

AGW Chairman, Iain Carter also reinforced the Association’s gratitude not only on behalf of Jock but that of the entire membership and with John Hopkins saying how ‘very grateful’ was the Association.

Scott indicated he and the Tour was delighted to help out and also to assist financially Martin Dempster and Steve Scott in returning to Paris to return home with Jock.

Scott assured the AGW is a similar-like situation should arise, the Tour would not hesitate to do all it can.

India Open – media matters.

‘Swammy’ thanked the Tour in being afforded the opportunity to attend the meeting and to advise of media matters at the India Open, where he is the media officer, and events where Hero MotoCorp is involved with sponsorship.

He thanked the Tour for its support of a growing India contingent of golf media and with the Tour and Hero very open to the media needs.

Swammy indicated he was working hard to ‘educate’ local media of the post-final round interview practice as in place at all Tour events and was slowly winning ‘the battle’.

Scott thanked Swammy for his invaluable assistance at events like the India Open as it has made a ‘big difference to coverage of that event’.

Problems with Facebook Live –

The Secretary mentioned an issue at the Justin Rose winner’s conference at the Turkish Airlines Open and that the Tour had asked to conduct a live Facebook of the entire conference.  The matter was discussed in Turkey with the Tour press officer and the AGW members present disagreed with the practice so that the live Facebook session did not go ahead.

Scott indicated the Tour is obliged to spread the word of the Tour the best they can and they had agreed to remove Facebook Live from taking place in the Media Centre following the presentation of the DP World and European No. 1 winner – “So it’s you guys full on”.

Scott is aware of the difficulties that anything on Facebook is all over the world before the written media have returned to their desks BUT that it also benefit the Tour at the events the written media is not present so we have balanced it out.

Scott indicated it was trying to help the media when we don’t travel to events or we might not travel, at all but then if we have Facebook Live their might not be a media centre.

Sending Journalists to Tour events –

Given Scott’s comments in relation to the lack of journalists at events it was brought-up by the Secretary if there was sponsor/promoter opportunities to extend invitations to select media to be present at events.

Scott indicated the Tour does get approached but it was not a Tour decision who should be afforded the invitation.

Iain Carter mentioned that if there was such an invitation the AGW could include news of this in a newsletter for circulation as an ‘expression of interest’ while John Hopkins indicated there could be a conflict of favouring some members over another but with Iain indicating it should be then a promoters choice – “Here is the names of journalists available, you choose”,

But Scott indicated the Tour would not be involved if a promoter said to the Tour:  “Who should we choose?”

Swammy mentioned there is the concern of non-golf journalists attending tournaments and that is not what a promoter desires.

Scott believed it to be a good idea and would assist in putting forward names to promoters.

Player access – Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship/Dubai Desert Classic. 

Derek Lawrenson asked, and given the a big contingent of English golfers competing in the early season at events like Abu Dhabi, if the Tour could help arrange interviews of the newer and little-known new England players on the Tour so the media get to know them better.

Scott and Michael Gibbons indicated that had been done before and that, in fact, Matt Wallace had already asked to do such a thing in Abu Dhabi while Tyrrell Hatton had hosted one.

Michael asked the AGW if they would like to formalise that and with the Secretary to forward a follow-up email to Michael.

Kate Wright – Update

The Secretary wished to put on record the thoughts of the AGW are with Kate Wright as she battles her way through illness.

Scott indicated the best way to keep up her spirits was to text her.

Scott indicated also that Frances Jennings was retiring early in the New Year and if the AGW wished to recognize her work and the AGW will be doing something.

Frances is retiring after some 22-years working on the Tour.