Rishi Persad has been covering sport on your television screens for over a decade and has provided superb coverage of a host of major sporting events including the Ryder Cup, the Masters and The Open Championship.
A good friend of yourgolftravel.com, Rishi provides 19th hole with an insight into presenting at a major golf tournament and tells all about his golf game including his clubs, his dream four-ball and of course, his favourite 19th hole.
You have been fortunate to cover some amazing sporting events, where does golf rank amongst them?
I have indeed been fortunate enough to cover some of the great sporting events in the world. It’s hard to rank them as they are all so different, but I remember working at the London Olympics and saying ‘nothing I do will ever beat this’. Two months later I covered the Ryder Cup at Medinah and was greenside to watch Kaymer sink his putt to retain the Cup and thinking ‘nothing in sport will better this moment’. Seven months later I visited Augusta for the first time. I know how lucky I am to be doing what I do.
How would you describe the atmosphere when you covered the Ryder Cup?
Medinah was extraordinary. Over the first two days and at the start of the third, the USA roars were deafening but as the Sunday matches wore on they became more and more quiet until Europe flipped the Cup on its head and both sets of fans knew they were witnessing something incredible in both a good and bad way, depending on who you supported. I think thats what separates the Ryder Cup from the Majors – the fans are firmly behind one team or another and want one to do well and the other to under-perform, whereas in tournament play most fans just seem appreciative of the quality of golf they see.
Being behind the scenes, what do you see that viewers wouldn’t be able to at home?
Given the extensive coverage that broadcasters give these days there’s very little that’s still behind the scenes, but I still marvel at the patience most of the players display post round given the plethora of media requests they have to deal with, particularly at the majors. Most have to carry out television, radio and newspaper interviews whether they’ve played good or bad and the majority of the time seem perfectly happy to do all of it.
What made you take up golf?
I have always loved playing sport and used to play a lot of cricket, but found that I was losing my bottle a bit so needed to find something else and took up golf about 15 years ago and my first thought was ‘why have I not been doing this all my life?’
What’s in the bag at the moment?
I bought Callaway X22-Tour irons about 7 years ago and they have served me well. I probably need a change again. I am struggling a bit with my putting at the moment and have changed putters a couple of times in the last year. I have also had a very, very old Callaway Great Big Bertha three-wood which is just about my favourite club.
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Out of all the courses you’ve played on, which is your favourite?
I am very lucky that I live in Surrey which has some of the best courses in the country. I am a member at Burhill which has two superb courses, but I spend a bit of time in Dubai working on horse racing during the winter and occasionally get the chance to play out there and I love the Earth course at the Jumeirah Estates.
What attire do you go for on the course?
Just neat and tidy I think. Or at least I hope I look neat and tidy. In the winter it’s all about being warm though, lots of Galvin Green layers. In the summer, as long as its sunny, I would always go for shorts, tailored of course.
Who would be your dream four-ball?
Dream four-ball would be Tiger (the best golfer of my generation), Phil Mickleson (a fellow lefty) and Stephen Ames (like me, he’s from Trinidad).
Your favourite 19th hole?
Since 2005 I have been going every February to Portugal for one week with a few of my close friends to play golf and some of the post-round drinks at various courses live long in the memory, at Vilamoura and Quinta in particular.