Thursday, June 14, 2007

Dougherty, leader of the band

Here's what you need to know about Nick Dougherty, the leader after the first round of the U.S. Open:

He's a 25-year old from Liverpool, England, who has one European Tour victory, was mentored by Nick Faldo and learned to play the flute after his father traded one of Paul McCartney's guitars for the instrument.

Seems everyone from Liverpool has a Beatles connection. Dougherty's comes from the fact his father was a friend of Pete Best, the guy who was a Beatle before the group slid him out in favor of Ringo Starr.

Dougherty's dad had one of McCartney's guitars and decided his son should learn to play the flute to keep him occupied on those lonely nights on the road while playing golf.

"His general idea was, 'When you're on tour, it will entertain you, to be able to sit in your room and play the flute,'" Dougherty said. "You can imagine it, can't you? TGI Friday's is much more fun."

Dougherty said he gave the flute to his brother and feels bad about it. Bad enough that if he wins the Open, he said he'd buy his brother a house.
It's too early to think about that but Dougherty insists he has changed in recent years, committing himself to golf more than having fun and he's become a better player.

"It's been two years of evidence that this was the right thing to do," Dougherty said. "You know, I was a young man and young men have fun. I don't regret it. Now I know the right way to run my life and go about my professional career because I know what not to do. "That was diplomatic, wasn't it?"

Yes, it was.