Video Credit: Harry Grimshaw, Golf Editor

Ewen Murray first set foot in the UAE back in 1982, into what was then a much smaller Dubai International Airport. As a professional golfer at the time he had travelled over to play in a series of Golf Pro-Am’s to promote the game through his sponsor, British Caledonia, one of three airlines only flying to Dubai at the time. You can imagine then, 40 years ago, how different the landscape of Dubai would have looked.

‘My first time here was 1982, there was one building and it’s still there now, the World Trade Centre but of course its swamped by all the other buildings’, said Murray.

'I remember them saying at the time that there was going to be big changes in the next 20 years and there would be a marina built out where they were going to build a golf course and none of that was there obviously, just the hard rock café. I walked away thinking this is not going to happen. And you look at it now! I wouldn’t say it’s a mini Manhattan, I would say a grand Manhattan, massive changes.’

A first real eye opener to what was the golfing landscape back then, was a visit to a sand based Dubai Country Club. Here he had to play with a one foot by one foot piece of astro turf to hit the ball off. This was followed by a second sand golf course in the centre of Abu Dhabi, and even a trip out to Das Island….

‘We played in a place called Das Island which I believe is 100 kilometres off the coast here. Here we played round gas tanks, fuel tanks and airline runways, it was wonderful. It was a wonderful adventure but it was another world away and it is, it’s a lifetime almost.’

Upon returning to the UK Murray continued his successful career in the game while playing around the world on the European Tour. Unfortunately he later lost his playing privileges in 1989 and had to make the tough decision to hang up his clubs.

It was the following year in 1990 when Ewen received a phone call from the then Executive Director of the Emirates Golf Club, Andrew Miller who was looking for a last minute replacement for a golf commentator for the 1990 Emirates Airlines Desert Classic. Accepting the offer for an airline ticket and £500 for the week, Ewen was on the next flight over to Dubai to try his hand at golf commentary for the first time.

‘I came over, and channel 33 were the people who were covering the live golf, they had never covered golf before. Richard Corman who was a radio host in Dubai became the presenter. I became the commentator, channel 33 were doing golf for the first time, so that wasn’t a recipe for great success! They were used to doing camel racing, they were used to doing the Dakar rally, and after an hour the director Hamid Mubarak asked if we were doing ok? And I said “We kind of need to see the ball”. He had his cameramen on the other side of the spectators, out of manners, out of respect, but of course they needed to be on the other side.

'Come Saturday afternoon the ball never left the centre of the screen, it was like they had done it their whole life. Hamid Mubarak became a great friend, a really close friend. We finished the tournament and I was on my own as a commentator, and I quite enjoyed it. When I got home Sky was just beginning and they had bought the Desert Classic highlights with the commentary on it, and they asked if I wanted to go to Spain to do their commentary for the Spanish event, which I did. And that was it, that was the start of me doing commentary.’

It was from that trip to Dubai that Ewen never looked back. 30 years in the hot seat for Sky Sports earned the Scot worldwide respect for his unique story telling.

‘I would say the most important thing for golf commentary is that realising silence is probably your most effective weapon. It’s easy to know when to talk but not so easy to know when not to talk.

'I was very fortunate because Sky Sports started in 1992 at the beginning of the era of the Dubai Desert Classic, just before Abu Dhabi got involved. They were a company that came in and were going to be here for quite some time so they were patient and they built themselves up nicely. I was very fortunate to be at the right place at the right time. When you look back at your life you may have done some good things, definitely done some bad things, but to be in the right place at the right time is either fate or luck, or maybe a bit of both.’

The closing of the DP World Tour Championship this year has once again shown us that this event is still the number one tournament that the players want to win, at the number one destination.

‘You look around and the Earth course wasn’t even built in these days. It was maybe in a blue print somewhere but it wasn’t built. But you look at it now and you look at the show they have here, the way it’s set up, the way everything is looked after, they consider everything carefully so then it’s a spectacle that goes round the world they are proud of.

'It’s the DP World Tour and based here in Dubai, the DP World Tour coming home to their place, the best golfers in the world, the number one golfer at the top of the list. That’s how much it has grown and it’s a wonderful spectacle. People look at Dubai now and if you take a wide shot of the marina, everyone knows that’s Dubai, its recognisable all over the world and year by year it gets bigger and better.’