The Daily Mail pulled out a double byline for its investigative piece that revealed the true identity of Cigar Guy, the man who took the golf world by storm during the Ryder Cup. Who says journalism is dying?
The moustachioed mystery man is 30-year-old Rupesh Shingadia, an investment analyst and golf fan who lives in South London with his parents, a retired mechanic and a housewife.
So what was his inspiration? He originally considered wearing Union Jack trousers like Ian Poulter before changing his mind.
Rupesh said his costume was a ‘tribute’ to Spanish golfer Miguel Angel Jimenez.
“I wanted to do something to show my support for the European team and I thought of Miguel. These days sportsmen have become devoid of character. But Miguel does his own thing and I love the way he walks around the course with a cigar clamped between his teeth.”
There were rumors that Cigar Guy was Sacha Baron Cohen, but Shingadia says pulling a stunt like this was out of character for him.
“I have never done anything like this before. I’m just an ordinary guy who loves golf and follows Arsenal. If I had known the incredible reaction it would produce, the way that Cigar Guy has snowballed, I would probably never have put on my costume. That said, I’m glad it has put a smile on people’s faces.”
Shingadia has even received marriage proposals via facebook, but he says he won’t be had that easily.
“‘I’d want them to love me for who I am – not just Cigar Guy.”
But probably the most important nugget gleaned from this exclusive interview is how to recreate his costume for Halloween.
He ordered the wig and moustache from a website for £15 and bought a £14 Montecristo cigar from a tobacconist.
‘I don’t normally smoke – well, maybe the odd cigar at weddings – so I asked for something mild. To last all day, though, it had to be a big one.’
The rest of his ensemble came from his own wardrobe: a Pringle jumper, North Face anorak and Reiss trousers.
Shingadia caught the eye of his hero Jimenez and his caddie on the 13th hole — and apparently they shared a moment.
“I was quite close to him at the 13th. I like to think there was a flicker of a smile when he looked in my direction. His caddie was certainly laughing.”
But Shingadia says it’s back to work in London on Monday, even though he is a viral cult hero.
“My favourite is me with The Simpsons,” said Rupesh. “It’s difficult to understand the situation because it has just been thrust upon me. Some people spend years craving this kind of attention but to me it happened by accident. It’s just bizarre.
“But I’m still expecting to go to work next week. I’m not expecting it to change my life in the long term.”