My latest MSN/Sympatico column went live yesterday.
Here’s a taste:
UXBRIDGE, Ont. – Maybe it is a sign of the insular and self-reflective nature of golf, but both Nick Taylor or Matt Hill seem stoic in the face of media attention rarely witnessed by golfers in this country whose last name isn’t Weir.
Standing in a room full of journalists and television cameras at Coppinwood Golf Club outside of Toronto, neither of the golfers could have anticipated this level of scrutiny when the event, designed to show off the Royal Canadian Golf Association’s male and female national teams, was set in motion months earlier.
Maybe that’s because no one in this country has witnessed two amateur golfers playing such an exceptional level of golf at the same time. Taylor, ranked as the top amateur in the world by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in Scotland, has just finished a stellar junior year at the University of Washington and last week saw his name in the front page of the leaderboard at the U.S. Open. Hill, on the other hand, had a run of college tournaments that may be unrivaled, winning seven of eight events he entered, as well as individual honors at the NCAA championship while playing at North Carolina State. Though he missed the final stage of the British Amateur, he’s still had an unparalleled year for a Canadian in a U.S. college.
None of this success means that either Taylor or Hill will make the grade. The Canadian golfing landscape is littered with players that showed great promise and left it unfulfilled, names like Brent Franklin, Rob McMillan and more recently James Lepp. All three were pegged as Canada’s next golfing superstar. None delivered on their early successes for one reason or another.
“Matt and Nick obviously have the potential,” says Scott Simmons, executive director of the RCGA. “But that doesn’t always equal a great golf career.”