Join us for an exclusive chat with the golfing legend.

With a seasoned career as both a tour pro and a presenter, there are few people with more insight into the golfing world than Nick Dougherty.

We sat down with the former European Tour golfer and BMW Friend of the Brand, to talk about this year’s European Tour, get his thoughts on the distance debate and to find out how innovation and sustainable thinking is making life better on, and off, the course.

Golfing legend Nick Dougherty

Let’s talk tours. Are you expecting any big-name players to support European Tour events this year?

I think some of the big names will for sure. It will be great to see players like Justin Rose and Danny Willett tee it up at Wentworth. Whether or not we will see people like Jon Rahm or Rory Mcllroy remains to be seen. As time moves on, they might feel more comfortable travelling, but we have to respect that everyone is entitled to their own choices. Whatever happens there will be world class golf on show.

How do you think tour players are dealing with the lack of fans on the course?

I think they’re starting to get used to it. For guys like Rory and Tiger, these guys are affected the most as they are used to having so many people there, but there might be an element of enjoying the peace. It’s a little more like to what they experience when practising at their Golf clubs where they don’t have tens of thousands on a golf course walking with them! But losing that ride of energy from the crowd, something Rory loves, must be tough.

As viewers I think we have got used to it. I think there is an understanding that this is where we are at right now, and we should celebrate what we can, rather than looking at things we miss.

Who are your contenders for the final two majors of the season?

I think it’s going to be the usual suspects. I’m not going to come out with any outliers, although Tyrell Hatton might be a contender. Otherwise I am looking at Rahm, I’m looking at DJ, I’m looking at Rory and in particular, Justin Thomas. They are at the top of their game.

The jostling for position at the top is so exciting at the moment. The fact that we have had more world number 1’s this year than any other year makes is so difficult to pin-point one of them.

Golfing legend Nick Dougherty

Talking of outliers, Sophia Popov’s recent win was a fantastic story. But should the LPGA have granted her an exemption?

Sophia Popov‘s story is a real fairy tale and what an Open Championship win, the kind that youngsters will read in the newspaper and think, wow, that could be me one day. The opportunity to beat the best, when you’re not already one of them, I mean, these are the stories we love to tell, so let’s help rather than hinder them.

I think the LPGA should have granted her the opportunity to peg it up and give a full exemption on the LPGA Tour as a major champion. I understand what they were saying and they are potentially going to review it at the end of the season, and I hope they make an adjustment, because we should celebrate our major Championships and to win one puts you in a special calibre of player.

Golf seems to be enjoying a boom period at the moment. How can the sport continue to capitalise on this interest?

It’s one of the positives to have come out of a really challenging time around the world and we should be celebrating and showcasing it. Not just for the benefit to business, but for what golf can bring to people’s lives, especially with health so front of mind.

With manufacturers allowing the ball to go further and making it easier for people to play, it’s creating a lot more enjoyment and for a lot longer time as well. My dad, for example, who is in his mid-70s is enjoying hitting the ball further than he has done before.

Talking about distance, the debate goes on. Where do you stand?

People who have been around the sport for a long time generally don’t like seeing some of these iconic venues dwarfed and made irrelevant to a degree. I get it, but I still absolutely bask in what the guys can do from an athletic standpoint now.

It’s not just about the equipment. These guys train hard and we know more about the physics and science behind things; it’s not God-given talent or just down to the manufacturers.

Sure, some of the shots we’ve seen in the past don’t exist anymore, but you’ve got to see the bigger picture. Golf is not just tour players, it’s for everybody. The bigger picture is that it’s absolutely revolutionised the game for the amateur golfer and the majority of people who play the sport.

For that reason, I am into it. I really like the fact that golf has become more approachable, more user friendly and that people aren’t put off when they realise how hard it is to make that little egg fly.

Golfing legend Nick Dougherty

Do you see brand sponsors as a positive influence on the game?

Brand sponsors allow there to be a golf scene in the first place. I was very aware of that as a player and I am aware of that now in TV. It starts with people wanting to watch the sport which drives the sponsors, but sponsors play a huge role in spreading the word and promoting golf as a business as well as a sport. They’re an essential part of the giant circus that is professional golf, so we all need to work together.

As a BMW Ambassador you’ll be aware of the industry’s focus on sustainability. After we saw the natural world thrive during lockdown, have you made any changes to reduce your footprint?

There are not many good things to have come out of this year, but it did shine a light on what we need to do to be better.

In the last few years, the main change I’ve made is switching from a diesel car to the BMW X5 Plug-in Hybrid. It’s such a simple way to make a big difference. The plan is to move to full electric soon.

I’ve also cut back on my consumption to try and avoid too much wasted packaging and I recycle religiously. I think we all need to make adjustments and do our bit. We can’t wait for other people to fix things for us.

There are a lot of misconceptions around owning and driving a Plug-In Hybrid. What has your experience been like?

The wonderful thing about my X5 is the distance I can travel. For example, at the moment I’m driving to Sky, and I can do it there and back on one full charge. I then just charge it back up overnight. It’s safe, super easy and nice and tidy. It means, effectively I’m driving electric most of the time which is lovely.

I am delighted it’s cleaner for the environment, but I also love the peace and quiet. The taking off and the easing out is still something I am still getting used to without the roar of the engine and there is just something really soothing about it. I am loving it.

Golfing legend Nick Dougherty

Innovation is constantly changing our lives for the better. What’s one piece of tech or gadget you couldn’t live without?

Probably my phone because I use it for so many different things and it’s also the home of my series, Tee Time Tips.

We film a lot of content on the phone. It’s one of the things that makes it magnificent. We pull it out the bag on the Tee and capture it there and then. There are no big fancy cameras – I guess it shows the simplest and smallest things can be the most powerful.

I must admit, the Sat Nav in my X5 is also indispensable. I love the fact I can just get in and have faith in my car to get me there safely and in the quickest possible way. It removes a massive amount of stress from my life!

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