Canadian Open: Day Two

I spent part of day two talking to guys on the range for a piece for [photopress:canadian_open_1.jpg,full,alignright]tomorrow’s Post. That included conversations with Chris Baryla (again), Graham DeLaet, and James Lepp.

Among the interesting points worth noting from day two, which largely consists of practice rounds:

  • Mike Weir had breakfast with a bunch of the younger Canadians and then played nine holes with Derek Gillespie, Victor Ciesielski and Andrew Parr. He spoke with the media briefly after the half-round, but frankly the reporters didn’t have much to ask and Weir didn’t have all that much to say.
  • Chris Baryla told me that during a round at Q-School he bet his caddy Derek that he couldn’t hit a 4-iron from 60 yards onto the green. Derek took the bet, Baryla opened the blade of the 4-iron wide open and popped it on. Apparently he then missed the putt.
  • There was a lot of grumbling on the range from a couple of Canadian Tour players about the way exemptions were handed out to former RCGA national team players. Specifically there were discussions about Richard Scott and Andrew Parr. Scott didn’t bother with Canadian Tour Q-School and has been pretty quiet since turning pro, and Parr won late last year, but has not had much of a presence in Canada until late. Baryla’s response to the grumblers was “they should play better.”
  • Graham DeLaet seemed to be having a good time, telling me, “Look who I’m hitting balls next to,” and gesturing at Jim Furyk. Neat to see someone get excited about playing the Canadian Open.
  • Stephen Ames, who last year commented on the “shitty” golf courses used for the Canadian Open, was quite diplomatic yesterday, saying Angus Glen North was in “great condition.” It appeared to me that remark allowed him to actually discuss his true feelings on the course, and it was also clear that he had no idea what the renovation by Davis (No) Love’s firm consisted of. That said, IMG media guy Dave Haggith noted that during the media conference with Weir the press soft balled the outspoken Calgarian a few questions hoping he’d launch into a diatribe, but Ames wouldn’t take the bait.
  • In sad news, longtime Angus Glen super Ernie Amsler died yesterday after a lengthy illness. I interviewed Ernie on a couple of occasions and always found him quiet, but friendly. He worked on the construction of both the South and North course, as well as the Davis Love renovation and the creation of Gordon Stollery’s new track in Goodwood. He’ll be missed.
  • Tomorrow I’m caddying for Jim Kinnear, CEO of Pengrowth and one of the Canadian Open’s bigger sponsors, during the pro-am. We’re playing with Jim Furyk, so it should be eye opening.
  • After our round, Kinnear is hosting a round table discussion with a number of executives who he hopes might help form a sponsorship group for the Canadian Open.
  • Speaking of Kinnear, he’s giving each player in the field 10 units of Pengrowth, his energy income trust.
  • Intriguing to see Neal Lancaster get into the field. It was five years ago when Lancaster hit it into the bunker on the 18th on the South Course and proceeded to make a mess of the whole enroute to ending in a playoff with John Rollins and Justin Leonard, who are also both in the field. Rollins, by the way, is still widely disliked by many other players for leaving his pregnant wife soon after his Canadian Open win. Apparently that’s something you just can’t escape.

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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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