The things we'll do in the name of research. Once, while reporting on an Irish Open, I selflessly stayed in a hotel bar until 4am in deep conversation with Angel Cabrera.
Of course, this was a surreal experience in itself, but it was to become even more Salvador later that same day when the Argentine walked into the media centre and, on account of not being able to understand any of my or my colleagues' questions, came out with a series of "Ques?"
This was incredible. In the course of about 13 hours and 66 dehydration-defying shots, either Cabrera had forgotten he could speak English or I had forgotten I could speak Spanish. It was a self-questioning imponderable I was to grapple with for years.
But then Angel went and won the US Open and then, as his interpreter translated his replies from Spanish grunts into English grunts, the writer sitting next to me at the victor's press conference revealed that a similar experience had befallen him. Afterwards, in the midst of the celebrations, when Cabrera was again doing his rather fine impersonation of an English speaker, a member of his entourage provided the explanation. "Angel just doesn't like microphones," he said. "Or questions."
If only I could have relayed this tale to the good folk of Bermuda before they fixed a microphone on the Masters champion. It would have saved them a few batteries, not to mention a whole generator of anticlimax.
Great excitement had precursed the Grand Slam of Golf returning to the island. Fancy it, the four major champions facing off against each other: Tiger, Mickelson, Sergio, Padraig. What a coup! As it turned out, this most bizarre of major years threw up (and I use that term purposefully) a four-ball of Lucas, Stewart, Angel and YE. What a letdown!
But the Bermudans are nothing if not resourceful and sought a way of making it entertaining. Their original solution was to construct a par-five that would go straight into the Triangle and whoever re-emerged would be the winner. Instead they opted for the competitors wearing mics, so providing a fascinating insight into the mind of a professional. Here was further proof you should always, but always stick with your first answer.
Cabrera showed his usual aversion to communication while the sun is up, while in Yang, golf seems to have unearthed another lingual Dracula. To be fair to the Korean there was a huge language barrier to overcome and to be fair to Cabrera his game is enjoyable enough not to require a running commentary. Cink and Glover had no such excuses.
The Americans are undoubtedly good men but as for being a double act they aren't quite up there with Armstrong and Miller. Their conversations ranged from tediously technical to the incomprehensively technical.
I blame Phil Mickelson and Jim "Bones" Mackay. During the final round in Doral in May Phil and his caddie had a gripping exchange when Phil wanted to go for an impossible shot under a bush and sensible old Bones wanted him to take the penalty drop. Phil duly went for it, hit a tree and, as viewers around the world gasped, TV executives were on their Blackberrys demanding that every such conversation be aired.
Reluctantly, the caddies are willing to give it a go, but their employers haven't agreed. If the players' representatives want to stall the issue they need only ask Cabrera what he thinks – in daytime, in English, with a microphone, with questions. That'll buy Tiger and the boys a few years.Reuse content