By Bernie McGuire in Abu Dhabi.
Whether you’re a player, caddie, official, or in my case, a journalist, being regularly out on tour is much akin to being among family members.
Everyone just gets on so well though I do find at the start of each new season I struggle to remember the names of my countless number of ‘cousins’.
Ahead of the third round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, we were in front of the official DP World Tour hotel awaiting the shuttle bus to take us the some 10-minute ride to the host Yas Links course.
There were three official courtesy cars parked to collect players who were also looking to travel to the course. Emerging from the revolving doors of the hotel was Dane Soren Kjeldsen.
I’ve known Soren for over 20-years. I was present at Gleneagles when he captured the first of four then European Tour victories. Jumping onto Soren’s Wikipedia page, I was present at all four of his wins, including his stunning play-off victory in capturing the 2015 Irish Open at County Down with tournament host Rory McIlroy, who had missed the cut, presenting the champion Dane with the trophy.
Seeing us that morning waiting to head to the course, Soren opened the car door asking us to join him in the gleaming Genesis courtesy car. This year is Soren’s 26th season on the DP World Tour and he spoke that he can’t believe it’s been a quarter century since first coming onto the Tour. We asked how his two boys were, who I recall enjoying sharing the caddying duties during a practice round a few years ago at the WGC – Dell Match-Play in Texas.
Meeting-up with Soren was very timely in my desire to write a tribute piece to the late Barry Lane, who passed away on the last day of 2022. It is the reason why players, caddies, officials and this journalist were wearing a black ribbon on caps and/or collars.
For those out working the DP World Tour, the secondary Challenge Tour and the Legends Tour, it is like being with family and it’s forever sad when a member of the family, and also someone so well-liked as Lane is no longer with us.
I’ve not done this before in my some 30-years working the DP World Tour but I spoke privately with a handful of players wearing black ribbons who were on the main tour when Barry was also competing.
I didn’t know Barry all that well but then our paths did cross a lot. He was always very friendly to me when I was around him.
He was a great guy and I know there was a huge out-pouring along with so many condolences of support. It’s very sad and it’s nice to honour his memory this week by wearing a ribbon.
We are a family out here and while we come out here to tournaments looking to beat each other, when it comes to the close of play on Sundays we’re still all friends.
Ultimately, we are a travelling family and we do support each other.
When I first came on tour, Barry was in the later stages of his career on the European Tour but I remember we played a few times together.
My memories of Barry is that he was a really nice, genuine person, and for someone like me who was still finding his way on the Tour, he was always very engaging and helpful.
His passing is a sad, very sad story. We all say that competing, and more so on this side of ‘The Pond’ is like being among members of your family.
It was very sad news learning of Barry’s passing. I was not aware he was ill or he was sick. I had received a text message from a friend in England who shared the news.
It must have come all too quickly for him.
Barry was a very nice guy and one of the players who was always friendly and engaging when I came out here in 2001, struggling to find my stride.
I can’t remember when I came out on tour how many years he continued to play on the main tour but I do recall when he played his last full season out here he hadn’t changed from the day I first shook his hand.
Everyone gets affected by such sad news and it will have touched many people. aIt is a fine show of respect that we are wearing black ribbons this week.