A handful of Canadians have played their way into a good position to move through to the final stage of Q-School, including Alberta’s Dustin Risdon and London, Ont.’s Alan McLean. Risdon carded five consecutive birdies on his back nine to vault up the leaderboard. Ian Leggatt also moved up the list to 11th spot, while Richard Scott is also tied at 11th and could move forward with a good final round today.
Here’s a column I wrote for the Fall edition of OG on Risdon. It isn’t online, so I’m reprinting it here.
By Robert Thompson
Dustin Risdon dropped a bomb on North American television. Not just a small blast – but a massive, expletive-deleted F-bomb.
“Get in the freaking hole,” the golfer, from Strathmore, Alberta, could be heard uttering during the second round of the Canadian Open at Glen Abbey. Only he didn’t use the word “freaking,” but another word colloquially used as almost any part of speech that also begins with f and ends in “ing.”
It wasn’t as if Risdon was urging his game forward. Nope. The comment was made in relation to a wedge shot hit by playing partner – and eventual Canadian Open winner – Chez Reavie. Maybe Ridson’s potty mouth helped out – Reavie’s shot would find the bottom of the cup for eagle.
It didn’t take Risdon long to learn about the attention one gets on golf’s highest stage. More than a dozen text messages appeared on his phone as soon as he was off the course, all in relation to his indiscretion. All wanted Risdon to know that his candid remark was caught by the on-course microphones and broadcast throughout the world.
Welcome to the PGA Tour, Mr. Risdon.
Of course, running your mouth off on television – something each and every casual weekend hacker does when they miss a three-foot putt in their $5 Nassau. Heck, I’ve been known to swear at myself while before hitting balls on the practice range and I’m not on my own in the use of colourful language. I bet you there are some who curse themselves out before they even get in their golf cart. They’re in good company. Legend has it that Tiger Woods has been fined for language issues more than any player in the history of the PGA Tour. Of course, that could be an urban myth since the tour refuses disclose exactly who gets fined or for how much. But it seems likely. Tiger does get camera time proportionate to his greatness, and has been known, on occasion, to throw out some world-class four-letter words.
At least Risdon figured he could get closer to one Tiger stat during the Canadian Open. Alas, it was not to be.
“I spent the next two days waiting for a note in my locker,” he explained to me at a pro-am for a Canadian Tour event the day after the Canadian Open finished. Players, Risdon would learn, are notified of fines for swearing through notes placed in their clubhouse lockers. He would make the cut in his first PGA Tour event and wonder every time he went back to his locker whether a missive would appear that would chastise him – and take a big hunk of his pay cheque. It never came.
He’d was lucky. Risdon, the 27-year old son of a farmer from an undistinguished town not far from Calgary, couldn’t exactly be blamed for his slip up of enthusiasm. It isn’t as if he’d spent much time on television during his six years on the Canadian Tour, which receives little in terms of camera coverage these days, with the exception of a recap program on the Golf Channel.
“I had no idea the mikes were on and would catch what I said,” he commented, laughing. “I guess I’ll have to be more careful.”
That’s not to say that the need to keep his mouth shut was the only thing Risdon learned. After all, it was more than just a tour event – he played 36 holes with the eventual winner. It isn’t like Risdon is a rookie when it comes to professional tournament golf. He won on the Canadian Tour this year, and while that’s not exactly taking the Masters, it does mean something.
Still, Risdon was surprised by the play of Reavie.
“When Canadian Tour guys hit the ball where some of the PGA Tour guys put it, they make bogey,” he said. “But the [PGA Tour] players get up-and-down from anywhere. Their short games are just great.”
Reavie’s golf was outstanding, Risdon noted, and he provided an example of what the Canadian needs to do if he hopes to get through Q-School this fall.
But maybe Risdon isn’t as far away from Reavie as he thinks. Only a couple of holes after Risdon’s on-air blunder, Reavie could be heard commenting on the quality of a pin placement at Glen Abbey.
“I haven’t seen a pin like that,” Reavie said, “since the trucking Gateway Tour.”
Accept, of course, he didn’t say “trucking,” and like Risdon, his faux pas was caught by the omnipresent microphones.
Proof, I guess, that there’s at least one way that all golfers are equals.