Classic memories from Dubai’s - and PR’s - past

The return of Europe’s top golfers for this week’s 30th anniversary Omega Dubai Desert Classic brings back great memories.

It also serves as a powerful reminder of how dramatically Dubai, media and PR have changed since 1989.

Today laptops send stories and digital cameras push images globally in moments, while smart phones film interviews edited into action footage beamed worldwide via satellite.

Back in the days before high speed internet, film was developed and stuffed into packages delivered to the airport by waiting couriers.

Reporters were still dictating stories over the phone to copy takers long since made redundant by technology.

If anyone used the words social media in a sentence, it was in chat about pages carrying pix of receptions or cocktail parties.

Two years prior to the inaugural Desert Classic, I’d co-ordinated international media coverage for the opening of the Emirates Golf Club.

Pakistan’s President Zia-ul-Haq hit the inaugural shot from a golden tee peg, playing the opening hole with golfers Sam Torrance, Howard Clarke, Rodger Davis and Graham Marsh.

An image of the Majlis course then, captured by my great golf photographer pal David Cannon, showed how it had been planted in the desert like a giant magic carpet tile.

Apart from the club’s Bedouin tent-inspired clubhouse, there was barely another solid structure in sight.

My press office for the first Desert Classic had no fax machine, which arrived a year or two later, with Seve Ballesteros following Eamonn Darcy and Mark James as tournament winner.

I find it frightening to imagine what PR will be using to get the job done ten years from now, let alone another 30. Someone else has probably thought of that already.

Tony Lewis, CEO