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Sir Steve backs Hacker’s Cup as a way to introduce people to Bermuda

Sportsmen who have won six Olympic gold medals, five of them gold, aren’t supposed to be unassuming-types, who shy away from the spotlight.

They are certainly not meant to have difficulty saying ‘no’, be uncomfortable speaking in public, or voice their preference for staying ‘behind the scenes and out of the spotlight’.

And yet, Sir Steve Redgrave, one of the greatest athletes to come out of the UK, is all of those things.

Which is slightly unfortunate for a man who is quickly becoming the face of Bermuda’s latest attempt to attract golf tourism.

On Island this week for the second Hackers Cup, an event that pits a team of celebrities against a team of journalists, and which the Redgrave-led celebrities won again, Sir Steve is expected to be front and centre in the publicity that organisers hope will have been generated.

Away from the spotlight he gave the journalists plenty of things to write about, and made Madelyn Moore’s day when he put the Island’s junior rowers through their paces yesterday afternoon at a brief training session.

Moore won gold at the Carifta Swimming Championships earlier this month, and the two swapped stories for a few minutes away from the cameras.

Sir Steve certainly hides his discomfort for public-speaking reasonably well, a talent no doubt honed through hours of practice fulfilling the many events he finds himself agreeing to. HSBC, who sponsor the Hackers Cup, held an event during which Sir Steve was required to say a few words, even though he is a reluctant frontman.

“I quite like being more behind the scenes, than being the frontman. I’m not that person,” he said. “It’s quite difficult. Of all the entertainers [James Bolam, Warren Clarke and Sion Tuder-Owen] that we have on this particular trip, I’m the only sports person, and I’m seen to be the captain.

“I have to say a few words at a few different functions, and I’m thinking ‘you’ve got people here who would love to be centre stage, and doing their little turn, and probably the person that hates it most is the one that’s doing it’.”

Even so, it is hard to imagine it took a lot to convince Sir Steve to come to Bermuda.

But, he gets so many requests for his time that he would have been unable to come had the event been held last week, or next week.

“I’m not very good at saying no to things anyway, I normally have to have an excuse not to do something, and the normal excuse is ‘I’ve got something in the diary that I have to do’.

“Obviously I feel very privileged for the lifestyle that I’ve had because of the sport that I did, and my status within that.

“But, I think, especially on my mother’s side, is a very social, community-based person, and if you feel that you can do something for somebody else, and have a bit of fun along the way, then why not?”

Importantly for the Island he believes in the idea of the Hackers Cup, and not just because it gives him the chance to indulge his passion for the game during a time of year when the self-confessed ‘fair-weather golfer’ wouldn’t normally play.

“I quite like the idea of the tourism side of the Hackers, because I think it works,” he said. “The [PGA] Grand Slam of Golf is here, and I watch a reasonable amount of golf on TV, but by watching the golf, it doesn’t make me think ‘oh, I want to go and play there’, unless it’s an absolutely stunning course that has a fantastic reputation.

“Most golfers dream of playing at Augusta, then probably the Open courses. Augusta is top of the list, because it’s the only major that’s at the same place.

“The Opens are special, if you play golf, you want to go and play courses like St Andrews.

“The Grand Slam of Golf, it doesn’t make me think that, where something like the Hackers Cup, and the Hackers week, I think it fits more into what golf is about in some ways.

“The publicity that is generated from it, is more likely to make you want to go [to Bermuda]. It [conveys] more of the lifestyle, what Bermuda is like, you don’t get that [from watching] the Grand Slam of Golf.”

At its purest form the Hackers Cup is all about marketing Bermuda in the UK, and Richard Moseley, HSBC Bermuda CEO, believes it will have a positive impact for the Island.

“Bermuda did the hackers and celebrities proud, spectacular weather, great golf courses and time for a drink or two with super convivial company,” he said.

“HSBC is looking forward to next year’s event and many other visitors as a consequence of showcasing our Bermudaful golf courses, friendliness and famous hospitality.”

Mike Winfield (centre) presents the Hackers AMAM trophy to veteran journalist Peter Corrigan (right), HSBC boss Richard Mosley (left) and Andrew Elliot and Arthur Jones after they won the week’s first tournament at Turtle Hill Golf Club.

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Published April 13, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 12, 2013 at 11:16 pm)

Sir Steve backs Hacker’s Cup as a way to introduce people to Bermuda

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