Manchester United legend Dwight Yorke showed off his golf skills on Friday as he made a surprise appearance in a trick shot show on the third day of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, which concludes at Doha Golf Club on Saturday.
Yorke was invited to the tournament by title sponsor Commercial Bank, which recently signed a five-year partnership with Manchester United to offer an exclusive range of financial services products.
As Qatar readies itself for hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Commercial Bank will offer its existing and new customers a range of Manchester United branded current accounts, savings accounts, debit cards and credit cards.
A three-handicapper and avid golf fan, Yorke was among the large crowds watching the third round of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters and took time out to attend an entertaining performance by the Golf Trick Shot Boys, a double act featuring Geoff Swain and Kevin Carpenter.
Yorke, who won three successive Premier League titles and the UEFA Champions League with Manchester United, hit two drives high and straight after being called up by the two trick-shot specialists as part of their popular show, which is held beside the practice range.
“I just wanted to hit it nice and easy, without being too aggressive, and make sure I didn’t top it or shank it! These guys are really good and it’s great entertainment when they get their routine going. They also show you how simple golf can be,” said the Manchester-based Yorke, who himself was part of a famous double act with strike partner Andy Cole.
Yorke was nicknamed the ‘Smiling Assassin’ for his relaxed demeanour and ruthless finishing in front of goal, and famously helped Trinidad and Tobago reach the 2006 World Cup in Germany during a 20-year international career.
A frequent traveller since retiring from football, the easy-going 42-year-old is a big supporter of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, which he has attended on previous visits to Doha.
“The Commercial Bank Qatar Masters is a really good tournament. I really like the set-up here, the hospitality and the weather is perfect,” said Yorke, who has shot low rounds of 75 and 76 on Doha Golf Club’s Championship Course on previous visits.
“It all works well and that’s why it attracts so many top players because it’s a fabulous place to come and visit, play golf and it has everything else to go with it.”
Yorke is good friends with Sergio Garcia and is among the Spanish Ryder Cup star’s many supporters at The European Tour event this week.
“I’ve been to the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters a few times and obviously followed Garcia a lot because he’s a good friend. I’ve followed him for a number of years now and I just want to see him do well and win more tournaments. He’s fallen in love with the game again and hopefully he can go one better than last year and win the tournament this time around.”
With golf now his leading interest, Yorke is both a keen player and also spectator at tournaments, in person or on TV. However, it wasn’t always that way, having only been introduced to the sport in his early 20s.
“I have no background in golf. It was Dean Saunders who introduced me to it when I was at Aston Villa. He took me to The Belfry, which was right next to our training ground and made me try it. He said, ‘You can play cricket, so try this’. I hit it sideways, went after it and placed the ball on a tee again, because I thought you were supposed to do that on every shot!
“I’ve only really been playing a lot since I stopped playing football four years ago. I play at every opportunity and I’m really fascinated by the game. I’ve really got the golf bug. It’s my new fun love now that I can’t play football. I had to find something I’m passionate about and golf is at the top of the tree.”
The Trick Shot Boys put on three shows on Friday and will also be performing at Doha Golf Club on Saturday at 10.30am, 12.30pm and 2.30pm during the final round of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.
The 2014 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters runs from Wednesday 22 January to Saturday 25 January. Final day tickets are still available to buy on the door at Doha Golf Club for QAR150. Entry is free for children under 15 years of age. For more information visit the tournament’s official website, www.qatar-masters.com.
For more on the Trick Shot Boys listen to the Lloyd Bell interview, the official tournament radio, here.
United Through Golf website:www.unitedthroughgolf.com