Let’s start with this photo, taken on the range at Islington Golf Club yesterday. There are three television commentators in the field this week — and here two of them are having a long conversation with Bubba Watson’s favorite player, Steve Elkington. Any thoughts on what this conversation was about?
My day was stupid long yesterday, starting with the Golf Journalists Association of Canada tournament at Weston Golf and Country Club in the AM, then on to the range to dig up some stories, and finally to the GJAC Awards dinner back at Weston. Somewhere in there I wrote 1600 words.
Let’s work backwards. Last night was the second annual GJAC writing awards. The awards are determined by three anonymous judges, and 60 or so stories are nominated. Each writer can put forward three of their works. The dinner is really a celebration of Canadian golf writers, and most regular golf scribes are part of it. There were a couple of interesting elements to the affair, including presenting the RBC Lifetime achievement award for CanOpen tournament director Dick Grimm (though that description doesn’t do him justice), and having former Golf Channel correspondent Adam Barr (check out his Adambarrgolf.com) discuss changing media trends and how it is impacting golf writing. Oh, and there were 9 awards for writing, and I was lucky enough to take home a first for this column in Sympatico on Mike Weir’s induction into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame, and a runner-up prize for a feature I wrote for Score on Highlands Links. I’m really quite proud to have won four awards in the past two years. It was a great evening, and a true celebration of the golf writing of Canadians.
Around the media:
I wrote a column about Tim Clark for Sympatico. Clark is a truly nice guy — about what you’d expect. My notes package on Day Two can be found here — but here’s the highlight of the day for me and one of the truly strange things I’ve seen around an Open:
Most ridiculous moment of Tuesday at the RBC Canadian Open? With Islington Ave. shut down to shuttle players back and forth to Islington Golf Club, where the practice facilities are located, Toronto Police decided to set up a speed trap in the hope of picking off a van or two taking players, caddies and media from St. George’s Golf and Country Club. The rub? Most of the vans are driven by off-duty police officers who also work as security for the event.
I’ll add that I had a long conversation with one of the cops driving the vans. He said he’d have just pulled out his shield had he been pulled over — but that he was careful not to do more than 65 in the 50 zone anyway. Still, couldn’t the city of Toronto, which has done so much to make the event work, tell the cops to back off? In fact one van did get pulled over with a player in it — not sure who — and they were delayed while the driver got a ticket. I heard that from another driver — this one an Anglican minister.
A few quick notes — the rough for the event will be four inches and the greens will stimp at 11. And no, I haven’t a clue where they put the flags on three when it is stimped at 11. I’ll investigate today and see how the pro-am partners fare.
On Tuesday morning, it came from a group of 20 kids who participated in an hour-long clinic with him on chipping and putting. When they were done getting pointers, many of the kids stuck around to ask the 28-year-old golfer from Weyburn, Sask., for a picture or an autograph.
“It was a rewarding experience for me,” said DeLaet. “I would never have thought last year at this time that I’d be a role model for kids.”
Times have certainly changed.
Even though DeLaet will be playing in his third RBC Canadian Open this week, his experience at the national championship is bound to be different. He’s arrived at St. George’s Golf and Country Club in the midst of a promising rookie season on the PGA Tour and finds himself much more in demand than when he was playing on a sponsor’s invite.
It would had been even crazier had he been able to put together a better final round at last week’s Reno-Tahoe Open. DeLaet briefly found himself tied for the lead on Sunday before losing his focus and tumbling down the leaderboard with a 78.
“I was thinking about trying to make enough money to keep my card for next year and trying to get a win (for) a two-year exemption on tour instead of focusing on shot by shot,” said DeLaet. “That’s how you score in the game. You don’t think about the outcome, you’ve got to think about the process.
“It’s one of those things that I know that that’s how you’re supposed to approach the game but for whatever reason I kind of got caught up in the moment and I kind of forgot about that. So I think next time I’m in that position it will be a little bit easier.”
While fatigue and the hot sun may have been taking its toll on Casey, it wasn’t obvious. Despite finishing eight shots behind Louis Oosthuizen, Casey apparently has a clear mission and was encouraged by his performance at
“Last week was great. I was disappointed not to finish second, but I don’t think anybody was catching Louis. That was a spectacular performance,” Casey said.
“I had a great time on
St. Andrews. I love that course anyway. It was a lot of fun — the home of golf. Playing in the final group of a major was great. It’s probably driving me even more to want to win a Claret Jug or a major. It’s something I will do,” he added.
“I’m 32 right now. I figure I’ve got 10 good years of prime golf. I feel I can be a major champion, maybe a multiple major champion in that period of time,” he said.
“I made two bad swings for the week – the tee shot on 17 early in the week cost me a seven, then the tee shot on 12,” he said.
“I holed quite a few putts during the week, so it’s give and take. Those two tee shots are what frustrated me. Two sevens for the week and I still finished third. It showed I played well,” Casey said.
Ottawa Citizen reporter Gord Holder catches up with gym teacher turned golfer Dave Bunker, who won the Canadian Mid-Am and gets a spot in the field this week:
It’s graduation day and Christmas in July all wrapped in one big bow for Dave Bunker.
The 45-year-old phys-ed teacher at Lawrence Heights Middle School in Toronto will live the dream of virtually every amateur golfer this week by teeing up in the RBC Canadian Open at St. George’s Golf and Country Club.
He’ll play at least the first two rounds of the Open on Thursday and Friday with pros Chris Ross of Dundas, Ont., and Henrik Bjornstad of Norway.
“I’m not sure,” Bunker said when asked if he’d be able to keep his emotions in check. “I’ll find out when they call my name on Thursday morning or Thursday afternoon, whether it’s the first or 10th tee, whether my hands are going to be shaking or whether I’m going to feel like a normal start of a normal tournament.”
There will be lots more today — which is the day the players traditionally come in for interviews. That includes Mike Weir, Casey, Green, Villegas and others.
- Dick Grimm accepts the RBC Lifetime Achievement Award from GJAC President Rick Young