• Dale Hayes: We had fun and I’m glad I played when I did

    Dale Hayes
    Dale Hayes

    Lockdown diaries guest Dales Hayes is known to many television viewers for his voice but the former European Tour pro was fine player (and character too). He tells WADE PRETORIUS about his life on tour.

    Lockdown Diaries: Dale Hayes

    ‘You know, it’s funny you mention my voice and I think a lot of people do know me by my voice nowadays, and the older
    people might remember that I had a swing that stood out as well (laughs),’ says Hayes, a player who made his debut on tour before the game was televised shot for shot and long before social media and Facebook.

    ‘Yeah it’s obviously been very interesting because as you say when I started in 1971 as a professional, there was no television for us, and that carried on until about 1975. I think, was when the first tournament here that was televised and then some of the European tournaments in Britain were being televised you know, the bigger ones like the PGA Championship and one or two
    other big tournaments were shown but it was still, you know, a kind of a novelty for us, and even if it was televised it was for the last three holes or four holes, not like it is today all 18 holes and stuff like that.’

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    With the the lack of cameras – both television and smart phones – the players were far more relaxed.

    ‘You know in those days, yeah, we got away with murder, when I think back, you know I mean, we pros used to sit around with all the sports writers, with the odd television commentator, you know, it might be one or two and we would sit around and we’d all chat together and we’d tell the stories of what happened last night … who had too much to drink … and who did this and who did that, knowing that it would never, ever, reach the newspapers or anything like that.

    Being ‘in the booth himself’, Hayes knows what tour pros and even commentators are up against in the modern age.

    ‘Today, you’ve got to be so much more careful … very careful what you do, what you say and how you say it. Look at the way the Paul Azinger “incident” recently played out about the comment he made about the European Tour I’m sure that’s not what he meant. He didn’t mean to be derogatory about the European Tour. But the way it came over, it was derogatory, and then he was
    slated for that.

    ‘It’s very, very different nowadays. We, in our days, we had fun. We really did, and you know, the characters could be normal. Nowadays characters are holding themselves back. They’re still there. I don’t think they’re gone, but you just don’t see them any more.’

    Today’s players certainly face a far different landscape with careers on the line on and off the course.

    ‘Absolutely. They’ve got to be so, so, so careful. They’ve got to be on their toes every second that they are out there, and then, you know, I mean even things like going out for dinner, if he [Rory McIlroy as an example] did something, you know, maybe had one too many drinks, or maybe he was rude to somebody, and somebody had their telephone on with the camera and filmed it, you know the next day it’s gone viral around the world!

    ‘I’m so glad that I played when I played, because it was so much more fun, you know, being able to be around characters like Jack Newton and Bob Shearer and Stewart Ginn from Australia, and obviously Simon Hobday, Tertius Claassens and John Jacobs from America – they were tremendous characters.

    ‘And I mean, if some of the things that they did were to happen today, well they would be off the Tour. They wouldn’t be able to play.’

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