Now Boulet talks a good game

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 November, 2007, 12:00am

Who said all golf professionals earn a packet these days? Sure you do, if you're the likes of Tiger Woods, or even China number one Liang Wenchong. If you're not, it is probably wise to line up a second career, like following the route long-time Hong Kong professional Dominique Boulet has taken by getting behind a microphone.

Boulet gave up the opportunity to play in this week's UBS Hong Kong Open in favour of his commentator's role with ESPN STAR Sports' golf channel. It was an easy choice to make, says Boulet.

'Have you seen my tour earnings? Missing cuts doesn't pay much,' laughs Boulet (pictured). 'Although being a commentator doesn't pay loads, it is much better than what I used to earn as a golfer.'

Boulet, 42, has had a long relationship with the Hong Kong Open. He first played as an amateur, in 1984. He holds the record for being the local golfer to have the best finish - joint-fourth in 1996 and winning US$14,700. That was thanks to a last round of 65. The previous year, in 1995, he finished joint-sixth and took home US$9,570. It took his year's earning to more than US$80,000. That was his heyday.

'I sort of stumbled on commentating by accident about five or six years ago. At first, it was just doing highlight shows. But now it is serious. I do live commentary,' Boulet says.

Boulet earned a place in the main draw this week after winning one of the qualifying berths for local golfers. He had hoped to juggle his playing commitments with commentating, but he found it would be too tough.

'There will be only two of us commentating, Alan Wilkins and myself. I tried to make some arrangements but couldn't come up with an agreement with the producers so I decided to give up my berth,' Boulet says.

His loss is Andrew Good's gain. The teaching professional, who missed the cut in the qualifiers, will now step into Boulet's shoes.

Says Boulet: 'I prefer being a commentator as I enjoy being behind the mike. I enjoy being around the players and it is great getting paid to talk about golf.

'But I'm still learning my role as a commentator. Alan makes my job so much easier. I have still not made any major bloopers on air. That is yet to come. I do about 17 tournaments a year, all live.

'I play just for the fun of it and it gives me an opportunity for a round of golf.'