Mike Britten 1938 – 2018

The past two European Tour Executive Directors along with his Association of Golf Writer (AGW) colleagues and friends have paid tribute to Association member, Mike ‘Micky’ Britten who passed away on January 5th, 2018. Micky, pictured above on the occasion in March 2017 of his 80th birthday, passed away last Friday in Spain where he had been living for many years following his retirement from a highly-successful career reporting on golf. Micky was born in Bexleyheath, Kent and spent many of his childhood years living on the Isle of Sheppey.  He was a gifted sportsman becoming a multi-winning Kent Country Javelin champion and also played for Gillingham FC. He moved to Spain in 2003 and remarried in 2013. Micky had retired from golf reporting in 2011 at the passing of his long-time friend, Seve Ballesteros and remarking his love of golf also died.  He was the author of two books, one on golf and the other released in 2009 ‘Flights of Inspiration’ with the dual theme of the history of aviation on Sheppey and his own life living on the island Micky joined the Association in 1974.  He was a former AGW Golf Captain and in the mid-2000s was honoured with Life Membership of the Association. He was among an initial small group of journalists who, in the infant stages of the European Tour, began travelling regularly to events not only in the UK/Ireland and Europe but to tournaments in Africa and the Middle East and between them they ‘covered’ nearly every newspaper and agency in the  UK and Ireland. Suffice to say, it was a very close-knit gathering travelling together and then dining out and staying usely in the same ‘digs’. Micky had undergone a triple bypass around a decade ago but remained in reasonably good health. He turned 80 last March but after suffering a chest infection late last week was admitted to hospital but sadly passed away on Friday. Micky’s daughter, Jenny expressed her thanks to the Association for their support and the many tributes (hereunder) her and her family enjoyed reading. The Association is also very grateful to former AGW Chairman, Bill Elliott for his offer to travel to Spain to represent the AGW. KEN SCHOFIELD CBE – Executive Director, European Tour (1975-2004). Inducted into World Golf Hall of Fame (2013). Micky Britain was one of a good number of British Isles Golf writers who set sail with the Tour as it pioneered its way firstly throughout Western Europe and then beyond They all cared for the Tour and greatly supported its development. Micky was a pro to his fingertips – get on his wrong side and you would surely find it hard going, But his toughness was always couched with fairness and his belief in the game.

Mike Britten and daughter, Jenny March 2017

GEORGE O’GRADY CBE Executive Director, European Tour (2005-2015). Mike Britten was certainly a man of his time and one of a very small band of stalwart golf   writers who followed what became today’s successful European Tour. He was tenacious in  discovering stories and had the enviable talent of being able to shape the story to the language of whichever publication he was working for. His determination sometimes ruffled feathers, with the occasional argument along the way, but he became respected by players, sponsors and administrators alike with whom he bonded to help promote the growth and development of the European Tour. GORAN ZACHRISSON – President, Association of Golf Writers.
Mike Britten was a man who could have started the next war, a man with an enormous integrity and always a man on a mission.
Never a tall man he managed to fill the press room by just getting to his position, type writer  in hand and some notes. His passion was infectious and his manner suggested that something was wrong, very wrong with the European Tour, very wrong.
What was wrong was never explained, but it was raining and something needed to be done about it.
If it was not raining, rain was badly needed, if only to make the greens slower.
Mike was all over the place, a wonderfully complex man who normally distrusted anyone with an R&A tie unless he was Michael Bonnalack.
Mike was integrity to the core. Mike was knowledge and a sense of humour that always put me in a good mood, for he humoured about things I did not even know existed.
Mike was everyones good friend and I miss him and his quick remarks, sartorical as well as intelligent and with him I knew that the world would always be turning.
Mike would see to that.
IAIN CARTER Chairman, Association of Golf Writers It is indeed very, very sad just five days into a year the Association of Golf Writers celebrates its 80th anniversary and we should lose truly one of our more colourful friend and colleague. I did not know Micky but I have heard some truly wonderful tales of the times he worked reporting on golf. Micky was a former AGW Golf Captain and Life Member of the Association and will indeed be missed but all those with whom he knew and worked. The Association extends its condolences to his family and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time.

1991 World Writers Cup, Tucson, AZ (L to R Bill Elliott, John Morgan, Renton Laidlaw, Ron Moseley, Micky Britten, Derek L, Bill Blighton, Jeremy Chapman, Jack MacGowan & Frank Clough (2).jpg

BERNIE McGUIRE Secretary, Association of Golf Writers. I first met Mickey in the early 1990s when I began working on the European Tour as a then new kid on the scene and desperately striving to make sense of the politics not inside the ropes but more in the media centre and ‘flash’ area. There was plenty of times, and I say this smiling, I could have strangled Mickey but as the seasons passed and I was ‘accepted’, I came to admire him and being a fellow freelancer, I learnt so much in his company and also from the likes of Gordon Richardson, Brian Creighton, Norman Dabell, Mark Garrod and Mel Webb. I recall vividly being at a Spanish Open when Colin Montgomerie was brought into the Media Centre.  Monty was top of the pile in European Tour golf and someone I still had yet to develop a working rapport. Monty started bemoaning his putting and talking of ‘technical’ problems with his putting.  Mickey boldly interrupted by asking: “Colin, Technically, what is wrong with your putting?”  Monty, and to my own complete surprise, snapped straight back at Mickey: “Don’t you ever get technical on my putting stroke.  Your job is just to write and report, so stick to that!” There is so many tales like this. We attended a Hassan 11 Trophy event in Rabat, Morocco and it was about 7pm on a Sunday night when Mickey and I turned around and everyone in the media centre had left.  They had also taken the phone and fax machines – in those pre-mobile phone days.  We ventured into the main clubhouse and the place was deserted. There was not a soul anywhere. If left Mickey and myself no other option but to walk a very long distance before managing to grab a cab back to the hotel but then it was a journey that would lead down many more happy avenues in Mickey’s company. I received from Mickey an email mid-November last year in reaching out to him and other retired AGW members.  He began his reply to me:  ‘Hola Bernardo – Why for you rattle my cage?’.  It was one of Seve’s great lines and he and Mickey, though often not seeing eye-to-eye, clearly developed a strong respect for each other. It very much was the same with those who worked with Mickey. If there is a plus in his passing it has been to speak with his daughter, Jenny and to learn the pleasure and also the comfort and support it has brought her and Mickey’s family in reading all the AGW tributes to her late father. As she said:  ‘They are a true reflection of my father, we had have sat together as a family reading them having a good laugh!”

1986 Kubota Golf Challenge  AGW Team – Jeremy Chapman, Stan Ellison, John Fenton, Derek Lawrenson, Mark Garrod,  Steve Roberts, Percy Huggins and Micky Britten. 

LEWIS ERSKINE  First of all – just thinking of Mickey brings a smile to my face. His ‘cheeky chappie’ style was infectious. But two things stick in mind. First, I was desperate for AFP to understand that our English clients wanted golf coverage. If at this time I covered four tournaments year I was lucky. Renton (Laidlaw) suggested I should employ Mickey. He agreed and AFP started having its own coverage of the European Tour and so it began. My other enduring memory of Mickey was at the French Open many, many years ago. It was at Chantilly. There was a putting tournament for journalists with a top of the line Peugeot bike the prize. Mickey got into a putt-off with a French journalist. The years have made it impossible for me to remember what hole they had reached but Mickey was down in two. The French guy was just over 18 inches away in one and was bending down to pick up his ball when Mickey told him to hole out. The stunned Frenchman missed. But it took Mickey months before Peugeot finally shipped his prize to England. But he got it. Never did find out if he used it. Erskine BILL ELLIOTT – Former AGW Chairman MIKE ‘Mickey’ Britton was a pugnacious, diligent and gifted reporter on the golf scene for his agency. He was also a pugnacious, diligent and gifted bloke. When I first met him in the seventies I liked him immediately. Straight-talking to the point of often being abrupt he was nonetheless a terrific and helpful colleague who was one of the first to extend a friendly hand when I began to switch from my beloved football to golf. His ability to get on with players from Seve down was impressive as was his instinct to treat all of them as ordinary blokes away from their ability on a golf course. My wife Val liked him hugely and she’s a lot more picky than me. She warmed to his humour and directness and now joins me in hoping he will rest in peace, no doubt wearing shorts and exposing the legs of which he was inordinately and deservedly proud and probably starting an argument over something just for the fun of it. Our thoughts are with his family members and his many friends. Bill Elliott BRIAN CREIGHTON I am very sad at hearing of the death of Mike, especially after I received a Christmas card from him in which he said he was “fit and well”. I had known Mike for a long time. During my time at Reuters he succeeded Gordon Richardson as our golf freelancer. Although he was inclined to be a bit prickly, somewhat truculent and with his own way of doing things, he was nevertheless totally professional in his work. He was a consummate journalist. And as the years rolled by and he began to mellow, his softer side and kind heart surfaced. And that was when I, and no doubt many others, came to be very fond of him. His love affair with life in Spain was well known. He became a very keen tennis player. Perhaps he had always been, I am not sure, but it certainly seems to have succeeded golf in his affections. He was one of the good guys. We’ll miss you, Mike.

Lewine Mair and Mickey Britten on a Penina visit

JEREMY CHAPMAN Very sorry to hear this. Long time since I saw him, a good friend, good partner (we won together at the Writer Cup in Tucson), very competitive, a real grafter as a journalist and a very good one.  Jeremy MARK WILSON Very sad news. Mike, the Exchange Telegraph golf writer, was an exceptionally hard-working journalist who made countless friends. He and the Press Association’s Stan Lincoln became a renowned agency force on Tour. To make a complete break and retire to Spain was a typical example of his bold approach to life. Christmas is proving a testing and worrying time for AGW news. In 2017 we were receiving greetings cards from Raymond Jacobs while learning of his death, and now the same with Mike Britten. We must stop this. Regards Mark GORDON RICHARDSON What a shock to hear of Mickey Britten’s passing. We exchanged lengthy Christmas messages and he sounded sublimely content with life in retirement in his Spanish hideaway. He confided to having finally given up golf through frustration over difficulties in securing tee times on the tourist and expat crowded Costa del Sol. We were constant companions for many years as fellow freelances on the European Tour, and although very different personalities we became firm friends. Small in stature he was an up and at ’em, pugnacious, often cocky character.  He was the one who asked the tough, often embarrassing questions, and I shrunk in the shadows. We spent more time working and travelling together than we did with our families. Mickey was. The ultimate professional. He knew everybody in golf, players, caddies, officials and he was greatly respected. I followed him in carving out a new life after golf journalism on the Continent and I will miss him deeply.

AGW Press Visit in 1978 to Penina Resort. Mickey Britten in the very front

MICHAEL MCDONNEL – Former AGW President and Chairman Over the years I travelled many miles on the European Tour with “Little Mickey” as we knew him. He was always the complete professional and solid colleague(who incidentally managed to complete the Daily Telegraph crossword each morning before breakfast).What a brain.He set standards of reporting for fast and accurate copy that became the hallmark of the AGW. Rest in peace old chum. MARTIN HARDY  RIP Mickey – a very good journalist and master of the art of knowing his audience, be it tabloid or broadsheet PAUL TROW 
Mike Britten and I were colleagues throughout the 1980s at the long defunct Extel sports news agency. We covered several Opens and Ryder Cups together, and I succeeded him as sports editor in 1988. He was unquestionably an acquired taste and an abrasive character. But he was also an excellent raconteur, a superb organiser and an original thinker. His bark was considerably worse than his bite, and as my boss he always covered my back. He also introduced me to Henry Cotton on numerous occasions – pure gold as an experience for a young journalist.
I last met him a couple of years ago for a few lunchtime drinks (all paid for by me) at the hotel I was staying at in Marbella, a short distance from his home. We reminisced for an hour and a half and he regaled me with all his health issues. Heart trouble, cancer and diabetes were among his afflictions, but he seemed pretty cheerful and robust despite having clearly been through the mill. He was full of praise for the treatment and care he had received from his local hospital and doctors, and felt he couldn’t have been as well looked after anywhere else.
Unquestionably he had mellowed over the past two decades, though his tan was as ingrained as ever. RIP
PATRICIA DAVIES
I was so sorry to see that the inimitable Mike Britten had died.  He was a big part of my time in golf and I learned a lot from him, Gordon Richardson and Mark Garrod, all consummate reporters who knew exactly what was going on. Small and combative, little Mickey could be very protective of his patch and at one tournament, one of the small ones we used to go to in the good old days before wall to wall television coverage, I wandered down to the 18th green where he was waiting, on his own, for David Feherty, who was having a very ordinary round. Mickey was doing some of the Irish papers and was horrified to see me, a natural blabbermouth who couldn’t be relied upon not to reveal all to his rivals.”  I was working for The Times, so our needs were not always the same.  “What you doing here?” he barked. In truth, there was nothing much going on, so I thought I’d catch up with Feherty, whom I hadn’t seen for a while and could always be relied on for a bit of craic. “I’ve come to learn at the feet of the master,” I deadpanned. “Wot?” Mickey looked at me suspiciously, not quite sure how to take this, then said, a touch imperiously, “OK, you can stay – but not a word to Dabell.”  Norman [Dabell] also had his Irish clients, so the rivalry was real. As it turned out Feherty had a great tale to tell, so both Mickey and I were happy. We had a lot of fun over the years and my condolences and best wishes go to his family.

BACK – Not Known, NK, Alan Hedley, NK, NK, M McDonnell, Peter Godsiff, Jock MacVicar. FRONT – NK, NK, Jeremy Chapman, Micky Britten, David Hamilton, Bob Davies, NK, NK, Bill Elliott- .jpg

NORMAN DABELL My old sparring partner gone. As I said to Gordon Richardson: Glad Mickey and I made our peace long ago. We’ve lost one third of the great freelance trio from the ’80s, Stumpy, Bulgaria and Officer Dibble.  Peace to all. Norm. LEWINE MAIR – Former AGW Chairman Micky was a fantastic operator and a great addition to the Golf Writers’ Association. However, in amongst his many admirable qualities he had this deliciously infuriating habit of knowing best – about most things. There came a day during a golf writers’ trip to Portugal when he very kindly agreed to be my caddie. I can’t remember who I was playing against but my main battle was very definitely with him. It wouldn’t have helped that I was a woman, but he kept telling me what club to take and where to aim. I coped quite well with all this instruction over the first few holes but, by the time it came to the homeward half, I couldn’t stop myself from doing the absolute opposite to what he wanted. If he told me to hit a high wedge, I would dribble a four-iron along the ground, etc. I vaguely remember a short hole where he told me to take a five-wood. I took a six-iron and hit the ball ten feet short of the flag. Rather ungallantly, he said it was about as good as I could hope for when I was using the wrong club. MARIA ACACIA LOPEZ-BACHILLER

“Conchito Britten from Spain”

 Please, take in consideration that these words are written with sadness and respect, but also with sense of humor.

 Mike Britten had the idea every girl in Spain was named María or Conchita and decided that all of us in the media team were his “Conchitas”, therefore, we also adopted him as our “Conchito”. For more than three decades he attended all the Spanish events and we considered him one of us.

 Conchito’s arrival in the media centre was the highlight of each day, also an adventure! White bright shoes, short pants (I used to call him “sexy legs”), raining hat, smiling or grumpy face depending on so many things! Courtesy car, hotel, breakfast, getting up early, British papers had not arrived yet, coffee not hot enough, rain or sun… there was always something to complain, but we enjoyed so much the way he used to grump that even encouraged him to do so! “Conchito, nothing to complain about today? Are you sure?”. And we all laughed together.

 He and Norman Dabell were the most multi employed journalists I’ve ever met and when the deadline was approaching, we tried to ran away from them as far as we could. Wow! We witnessed some “very hot moments” between those two, a couple of their sentences (which I don’t dare to repeat!) are still sounding in my ears since Barry Lane won in Mallorca in 1994.

 I’ll never forget some press conferences with Seve: at times, he and Mike were like two bulls fighting in the arena with fire coming out of their noses. Wow! One day, after an inquisitive question from Mike, Seve said: “Try again, Mike”. Mike had not catch up Seve’s second meaning at first and asked a second time, to which Seve responded: “Mike, again, try again”. And we all laughed. Another day, after a good round from Seve and a very peaceful day for Mike, Seve said: “Eh, Mike, you think I played good today? You are my friend today? Nothing to complain?”. Once more, we all laughed with them.

 From the very moment he found “La Heredia”, his lovely place in Estepona, he kept updating me with all the facts. He was thrilled and so proud of his Andalucian house, and knew it made me very happy because I am an Andalucian too. He invited us all for a drink during one of the last Volvo Masters, it was a lovely and cozy place, indeed.

 Conchito, thank you very much for so many good moments together that I will always treasure, and “muchas gracias” for lighting up our media centers. We’ll miss you.

Back Row – Jack Statter, NK, Brian Creighton, Keith Mackie, G Richardson, M. Williams – Middle – J.Chapman, L Mair, M Britten, Steve Roberts, R Dodd,. Front row -D. Davies, Ron Willis, John Ingham.jpg

 PADDY MEARING

Very sad to hear of the death of Mike Britten. I knew Mike from way, way back when he first joined Extel and I gave him his chance as a journalist. He was a hard working guy and always gave of his best. We have kept in touch even if it was only at Christmas since I retired  30 years ago. He never said how ill he had been….sad news…..kind regards to all for 2018.   Paddy Mearing. MARTIN DEMPSTER Very sad news to learn of the passing of Mickey.  My condolences to his family.  JOCK MACVICAR  Mickey was one of the great characters of the AGW.  He was a regular at European Tour events along with the likes of Gordon Richardson and Norman Dabell. He was sharp as a tack, and you had to tread warily at times with him.  But he was a good guy, and after many combative years, he and Norman made peace before departing the golf writing scene. He was missed a lot in the media centre because he was such a lively character. CHRIS SMART  I got to know Mike really well when he was editor of Extel and I did a lot of work for them covering many of the top amateur events. I found him to be full of fun, great company and while dedicated to golf journalism he never took life too seriously and was always prepared to share a good laugh with colleagues. He was a great personality and a very helpful man who will certainly be missed by those who came into contact with him. PHILIP QUINN Very sad to hear of the passing of Mickey Britten.  Lovely photograph of he and his daughter.  TONY ADAMSON  So sorry to hear of Mickey Britten’s passing. Although we worked in different parts of the media, he was a wonderful companion when it came to sharing those long and frustrating periods of a golf tournament when little or nothing was happening outside or inside the media centre. It was then that Mickey’s sense of humour and his fund of stories kept us all occupied. He was a dedicated and industrious journalist, a passionate supporter of golf. It was a pleasure to work alongside him and my condolences go to his family and friends.
LIZ KAHN 
Mike was a memorable colleague, tenacious, abrasive, full of information, humour and one of the few that I could look in the eye!  It was good to have him around, beavering away and helping me on numerous occasions.
He looked so well and happy in the recent photograph from Spain; how sad that he should die from a complication of a chest infection.  My condolences to his family and sadness in his passing.
MARK GARROD – Former AGW Secretaryy
Goodness knows how many tournaments Micky and I both travelled to over the years, but he was as much part of the scene as any of the players whose careers we followed and definitely more colourful that the vast majority of them. We played many a round together too, perhaps most notably in what for many years was an annual clash between PA and Extel. Wentworth was the regular venue and on one particular occasion Micky was playing singles against our then sports editor Nelson Fairley and came to the last hole on the East all square. Now, as many will know from AGW outings, the 18th is a par four with a road across the fairway and then the green to the left of a row of bunkers. After two shots Nelson was about 80 yards from the flag, but for some strange reason took a wood out of his bag and fired his third shot into the wide open space right of the bunkers, often used for car parking whenever an event was being staged. Micky, competitive character that he was, watched it all unfold with a smile on his face, knowing that it made his task of winning the hole and therefore the match far easier. And, while it might have been in the spirit of the sport to point Nelson in the right direction before he played the shot, it gave us all a laugh when they reached the bar.
On another occasion at Woburn he was up against John Oakley and on one hole Micky left his trolley by his drive and went to help in a search for John’s ball. Once it was found, he returned to his bag, only to discover his ball was no longer to be seen. Accusations flew across the fairway of said ball being pinched and it ended with John – principal target of the accusations – walking off the course in fury at being accused of such a crime. It took quite some time before they started talking to each other again.
I see Lewine has referred to another incident in Majorca involving Micky and Norman (Dabell, of course) and I don’t mind filling in the blanks. Norman was in the process of doing a BBC radio report when “noises off” distracted him. Given his not-always –harmonious working relationship with Micky, Norman let out the cry: “Shut up, you stumpy little bastard”. For all I know, it’s still kept amongst the out-takes at what is now BBC Five Live.  Next morning Micky turns up with a shirt bearing the initials “SB” – I think it stood for “Seve Ballesteros”, but the alternative stuck.On another trip, to Thailand for the Johnnie Walker Classic, Norman was chatting to colleagues about his eventful previous life in the Navy and it cropped up that he was a “radio operator, second class”. Quick as a flash, Micky chipped in: “Nothing’s changed then”.
Micky and Gordon Richardson formed a formidable freelance duo as the European Tour spread its wings and, as others have noted, were both mighty fine operators.
Paul Trow is most certainly right when he talks about Micky’s bark being worse than his bite, but that bark took no prisoners. Nick Faldo’s famous “an ouef is an ouef” during one French Open was in response to one particular grilling. Yet there were laughs most days too and his retirement to Spain certainly brought out the best in him.
He turned up at one event at Valderrama loaded with avocados for us to try, as if they were something we might never have seen before. The picture of him and daughter Jenni from his 80th birthday last year prompted me to send a Christmas card to wish him well. To then read of his death was a real shock, but we will always have the memories.

TONY JIMENEZ

Mike was my first National Union of Journalists representative when I started out as a young pup of a sports journo at Extel many moons ago. When my colleagues and I used to get ready to consult him about union issues we would always share a collective giggle,  guesstimating how long it would take for Mike to come back with the inevitable stony-faced response, ‘well, I’m not happy about that’. A great character. Gone but not forgotten.
JOHN HOPKINS I first met Mickey at a swimming event in Blackpool some time between 1972 and 1976. I was writing about sport for The Sunday Times and in 1976 would go to the Montreal Olympics to do just that. He was working for EXTEL, which I later learned stood for Exchange Telegraph.  I don’t remember much about the swimming though I suspect David Wilkie, who would win a gold medal in the 200 metres breastroke in Montreal, and Brian Brinkley,  a perennial British freestyle champion who swam well but never made it onto a really important international podium, were there.  I can’t forget a train journey back with Mickey, a little man who could wind his neck out, jut his jaw and make himself seem much taller. With these gestures he seemed to be saying: “oi mate. Want to make something of it?” Many were the fools who wanted to. You took on Mickey Britten only if you were absolutely sure of your ground. If he took you on then it was a penny to a pound you’d be bruised at the end of such an encounter – if you had not lost it completely. What’s the cliche? It’s not the size of the dog in the fight….I have rarely met anyone who personifies that so well though Ian Woosnam, Corey Pavin (and maybe Ken Schofield) come close.  My defining memory of him is long after we had met on that train journey. It was some time in the late 90s and I was at the qualifying school in southern Spain covering it for The Times and he was there,though I can’t for the life of me think who he was working for. It was a long day and something mildly interesting happened mid-afternoon. It didn’t affect my piece and if the truth be told it probably didn’t affect Mickey’s either. But like the incomparable Mark Garrod a few years later, his agency training made him relentless in his pursuit of an official explanation from someone in authority  as to what precisely had happened. He was extraordinarily thorough, as Mark was.  I remember looking up from my computer late on and seeing him coming in to the media centre, notebook in hand, a few swear words on his lips, white shoes on his feet, shorts on his legs and a garish shirt on his shoulders, having found out exactly what had happened. He didn’t ignore it; leave it to others to find out; he had to get to the bottom of it himself. That was his nature. If he didn’t know something or didn’t understand something he would not rest until someone had explained what had happened and why – to Mickey’s satisfaction and he sometimes took a long time to be satisfied. Indeed, sometimes he was never satisfied. An outstanding quality for a journalist. Not many journalists have it. When the 1997 Ryder Cup was at Valderrama I rented his house for myself and my colleagues on The Times – Rob Hughes, Mike Calvin and Marc Aspland, the wonderful photographer. Also with us was Lynne (Eats, Shoots and Leaves) Truss. “She’s come to do your washing, has she?” Mickey said to me when I told him the complement of The Times’s team.  You may remember how the night before the first day’s play a fierce storm hit the Costa del Sol or Costa del Golf as it knew itself. Itcaused the electricity to go off in the house. When I reported this to Mickey he said: “plugged her curlers in wrongly, I expect.” I read the news of his 80th birthday and thought to myself: “I must drop him a note and congratulate him.” Can’t now. It’s too late. Damn.  CHIKY ISABEL TRILLO AMORES I’m so sad for Mike.  He was one of the first international journalist I met in the Media Center of World Cup in Las Brisas, Spain in 1989. He was very special person, no easy in the first contact, but when you touch his heart you can find a friend, good friend, for all your life. First time we played golf together was at Mijas Golf Club with his ‘rookie’ girlfriend and my ‘rookie’ boyfriend we enjoy a lot, much fun. When Mike work, was serious; When Mike played golf, it was fun and you always learned something. Thanks Mike for your friendship.  TEN GOLF (Spain)AGW Members Alejandro Rodriguez & David Duran  https://twitter.com/Tengolf/status/950808380804878337  AGW – Twitter Page  https://twitter.com/AGWgolfwriters/status/950033982078504961 Letter from Mike to the Secretary and AGW Members from December 2017 AGW Newsletter thanking members on remembering his 80th Birthday.  (Sadly, less than two months later he passed away) Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2017 20:32:23 +0000
Hola Bernardo – Why for you rattle my cage? Are you starting up a “Where are they now” section for the AGW Newsletter?
I am still living in Spain in the house on the hill I bought in 1995. You remember that I retired after the 1997 Ryder Cup when Seve led Europe to triumph and Costa Rocca sent Tiger Woods home with a flea in his ear. Those were the days! I don’t play golf anymore, I lost interest after the death of Seve and my clubs are now locked away in a cupboard gathering dust. Anyway, the game has lost its appeal. It requires a minimum of 5 hours to play a round, 6 in the summer when the temperature gets into the 90’s. On top of that it costs too much – around £100 including a buggy and I would rather spend the money on something else – like a good meal with wine. I bought and sold 2 Finca’s (fruit farms) in the last 10 years, I have given up writing and now concentrate solely on lotus eating. My daughter Jenny and son-in-law Bill followed me out here in 2003 and live next door. My eldest grandson is in his 3rd year at Canterbury University studying Sports Psychology and the younger one is in his final year of A levels. Jenny is a teacher at the local International School and Bill works for a Finance Company in Gibraltar. I am now an octogenarian – I celebrated my 80th birthday in March this year having survived the usual old age problems of triple bypass, prostrate cancer and diabetes type 2. I keep in touch with a few of my contemporises (cards at Christmas) but as you say the whole golf writing scene has changed. There used to be tournaments and golf writers all over Spain but now they are as rare as snowflakes in Marbella! But what’s to complain about, the climate is perfect the high-speed trains run on time and the motorways are empty. I feel very fortunate. Attached is a photograph of me and my daughter at a local restaurant on my 80th. Best wishes Mike                 W