Canadian Women's Open: Day Two — Gulbis controversy, Open rota?

Day two of the CN Canadian Women’s Open was the Lorie and Angela show, and damn if I’m not in the Stanford camp.It is probably unpatriotic, but Stanford, who lost the 2003 Women’s U.S. Open in a playoff, is bright, funny and self-deprecating. Hard not to appreciate lines like, “I have no shame. I’ll roll the ball up to get it to three feet.” Stanford spent a fair bit of time yesterday taking questions after her round. In contrast, Kane, who appeared pretty bothered by her bogey on the 18th green, blew through a television interview and all print interviews in 10 minutes on her way to the range. She took five print questions altogether, which I thought was rather poor considering all of the coverage is focused on her, despite the fact she starts today four shots back.

Anyway, Kane’s rapid departure through the media tent wasn’t the only bit of controversy at the Open. Turns out an arts reporter for the London Free Press, who has never covered golf, decided to take a shot at swimsuit model and golfer, Natalie Gulbis:

Surrounded by autograph seekers as she left the practice tee at the London Hunt and Country Club yesterday afternoon, Gulbis scribbled some perfunctory signatures in hasty fashion, avoiding eye contact with her fans.

Just minutes earlier, she’d avoided shaking hands with three TV crews interviewing her, coyly declaring she had a wad of gum in her right palm.

This story, which appeared on Wednesday, led to a letter to the editor signed by the likes of Meg Mallon talking about just how much time Gulbis commits to her fans. I’ve witnessed it first hand, so I’m pretty sure they are right. Besides, the writer in question doesn’t know a bogey from an albatross. Maybe he was just bothered Gulbis wouldn’t sign the June picture in his copy of her calendar.

Anyway, the incident led me to write a column in today’s National Post about just how acccesible the women on the tour are. They sign endless autographs. They walk through the crowds (which are apparently of record size). They chat with the fans. In other words, they go out of their way to promote their sport.

However, at least someone at the Free Press picked up on a good story. Columnist Morris Dalla Costa caught wind that the RCGA may be considering a rotation of courses for the Women’s Open and that London Hunt and Country Club would be on that list.

There’s a lot of work to be done before a decision on whether a set rotation will even happen, but both Lindsey Elwood, president of the London Hunt and Country Club, and Rick Desrochers, chief operating officer and managing director of the Royal Canadian Golf Association, indicated information discussions have taken place.

“We haven’t sat down with the club and formally said, ‘Would you become part of a five-year rotation?’ ” Desrochers said. “We’ve had casual conversations about that. I don’t mind telling you, that this facility, if we’re going to get into that kind of rotation, would be very high on the list.”

What a clever idea! Now why not do this with the Canadian Open? Hamilton, London Hunt Club, Westmount, Shaughnessy and occasionally Glen Abbey. Oh, and of course the Country Club of Quebec in Terrebonne….

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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