A day in the life of... European Tour press chief Michael Gibbons

2016 12 Gibbo Day In Life
He grew up as a football-mad kid who played golf at Cawder GC in Glasgow, but now Michael Gibbons is the European Tour's Chief Press Officer working on one of global golf's biggest stages.

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I started working for the European Tour in 2003 primarily doing the Challenge Tour. I was freelance for the first two years and then I got the full-time gig.

I’d been a journalist for the Sunday Post and started going to a few main tour events to cover them for the paper.

I got to know the tour guys doing that job and they were looking for someone young to do Challenge Tour at the time. That was 13 years ago and I’m still here.

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I was always interested in golf to a point. I was a junior member at Cawder Golf Club for around eight years.

I had a handicap of around 15, but I never really wanted to play in competitions or get lessons. I played loads of football at the time, too, so golf was a bit of a secondary sport.

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1st Machrihanish


I don’t play as much golf as you would expect. The one week I play every year is the week after the Open.

I go with seven of my mates to Machrihanish (above) on an annual golf trip, which is great.

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I’m out on tour between 16 and 20 weeks a year. It’s usually scheduled as 16 weeks at the start of the year but always becomes more.

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The Irish Open - Day Two

There are two typical days when I’m at a tournament. There are the preview days, which are generally Tuesday and Wednesday, when I’ll normally get to the media centre between 7am and 8am.

I make sure the interview room is set up and the media centre is fully operational. Then my day mainly involves liaising with the players, their managers, or both.

Our job is to be the middle man between the media and the players.

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Tournament days are more structured because you have the draw, you know when the players are finishing, so most of our work goes up to the recording area where the TV backdrops are.

Once the players have signed their cards, my smiling face is the first one they see and then it’s similar to the preview days where you take them to speak to TV, radio and written press.

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The Irish Open - Previews

When I think about it, it is quite surreal to have a relationship with the some of the best golfers in the world. At the same time, though, it’s something that happens naturally.

You see them at their best and their worst. Double bogeys to lose a tournament by one or losing a play-off badly, you see quite a lot of emotion and, again, part of our job is to gauge if they will want to do anything with the media.

You also see the winning moments. A lot of the time, you’re the first person to say congratulations to them after they’ve signed their card.

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UBS Hong Kong Open - Day Four

We get to some amazing spots. My favourite place is probably Hong Kong.

I just love that place and it’s one I go to every year so I get to go back and get to know even more every time I go. It’s just an awesome city.

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Ryder Cup - Day Three Singles

My favourite memories are from the Ryder Cups. Every one I have worked on has been amazing. We’ve won four out of six since I started. We’re really lucky.

We’re amongst the very few people who are in the Ryder Cup team room. You see everything. You hear a lot of the speeches and you see how they motivate each other. It’s an incredible experience.

It can be difficult not to get swept up in it all but I think we just about manage it. Medinah was the ultimate test of that.

When Martin Kaymer holed the winning putt, I was hugging Darren Clarke on the ground. I got up ten seconds later and had to try and get Kaymer to the cameras.

Those are extreme moments. Getting the job done is our first priority.

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Three things any chief press officer needs are patience, the ability to think on your feet at all times and a thick skin. So much happens all around you.

Abu Dhabi was a great example. You had McIlroy, Fowler and Spieth all in the same group. It’s great for TV but it’s absolute carnage for us.

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