My Life In Golf: Piers Morgan


The outspoken presenter on learning from Ernie, debating politics with Rory and whether Donald Trump really does play off three...

Love him or hate him, Piers Morgan can never be accused of sugar-coating his views. The former newspaper editor turned TV presenter admits he'd love to grill Tiger Woods on his past, and even threatens to give us 'a whack on the nose' as we make a joke at his expense. It's all said in jest (we think), and it soon becomes clear that what he lacks in golf skills, he makes up for in sledging.

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"It's more of a cricket swing, but I'm a master at mental disintegration," he says, as he proceeds to duff two chips during the BMW PGA Championship Pro-Am. He also loves jousting with the crowds and is quick to remind everyone in attendance that he holed a 60ft putt on the 17th last year.

"That was great because it nearly gave Kevin Pietersen a heart attack in fury," he admits. For comedy factor alone, he's great value and a world away from the tough, hard-hitting presenter we see on screen. But don't think he doesn't take things seriously on the golf course. He is actually fiercely competitive, and reckons he deserves an award for shooting the highest-scoring round with a hole-in-one...

I play at Wimbledon Park in London, opposite The All-England Tennis Club. I have been playing there on and off since I was a late teenager. I became a member there a few years ago. Ant and Dec are down there quite a lot, as is Ben Shephard, my Good Morning Britain co-host.

I play off 16. I once went round St George's Hill in level par... up until the 10th that is (laughs). It was the greatest 10 holes I've ever had. I think I ended up five or six-over, but for me that was brilliant.

I'm a massive cricket fan so playing with Brian Lara and Kevin Pietersen in pro-ams is like fantasy golf. It is nerve-racking when you stand on the first tee because you don't want to make a total arse of yourself. I liked one of Ernie's tips: 'Just smack it as far as you can down the middle.' That's pretty good advice I thought.

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I have had one hole-in-one. It was a par 3 – 170 yards, uphill – at either the Duke or Duchess course at Woburn. I can't remember which one, but it was only my second ever round. It took two bounces and went straight in. My round should be in the Guinness World Records book because I shot 128 with a hole-in-one.

When I'm in the States, I play at Lakeside Golf Club [in LA] with a few actor friends like Vinnie Jones and Ioan Gruffudd, who was in Hornblower. It's great because you see people like Joe Pesci, Jack Nicholson and Justin Timberlake – it's where they all play. I also play at Mountain Gate with a guy called Richard Schiff who played Toby Ziegler in the West Wing. It was my favourite drama, so it's a real labour of love when I get to play with him.

I've never actually been to watch a big golf tournament live. I would love to play Augusta or even just walk it. That's a bucket list thing, definitely. 

I've interviewed quite a few golfers on Good Morning Britain. Ian Poulter, Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy. The first time I interviewed Rory was after he won one of his first Majors. I was working for CNN and did Rory and Beyonce in the same studio in the space of three hours. That was a bit strange. I don't know Rory that well, but we talk a lot of politics privately through direct message on Twitter. He's a very smart guy and he has a lot of opinions about the world.

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I haven't played golf with Donald Trump yet, but I'm looking forward to it. He's actually quite a good friend of mine, so I'm hoping we can arrange something soon. Rory says he's a good player, but probably nearer to a five or six handicap.

I'd love to interview Tiger Woods. I would probably ask whether he thinks he'd still be the No.1 golfer in the world if he'd never been caught being a naughty boy and going to Vegas every weekend. Clearly it was his release valve. The moment that all stopped, everything went wrong.

I had a great lunch sitting next to Colin Montgomerie once. I'd gone in with a preconception that he was going to be quite difficult, but I couldn't have met a more charming, funny and entertaining guy. I came away with a completely different impression of him. He was great company.

I don't like to lose at anything and I always like to have a little bet on the golf course. I remember playing at Wentworth with JP McManus and we took on Vinnie Jones and a friend of his. It went to the 18th hole and Vinnie, who was standing over his putt, suddenly looked up and said: 'If I get this, you guys lose £200.' So, we went: 'Yeah, alright.' He turned around, hit it 50 yards the other way, and said: 'It's been a good day lads. Let's walk away, quits.' I thought that was pretty cool.

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