11 August 2007
The Bell CanadianOpen
Beavers, Sasquatches and SkiDoo Suits.
Nestled in the vast barren freezing tundra is a country called Canada where live a bevy of beaver loving brave Canadians who bear the beastly bleak temperatures to compete in a 5 million dollar Tiger-less Canadian Open.
Flashback 2 weeks
People witnessed Tiger sporting
Gortex mitts during the British Open.
Well, don't be shocked that if Tiger
happened to come to The Canadian
Open, that on the final round, if he
didn't get frost bitten, to see him
trading in his traditional red golf shirt
for a bright red skidoo (snowmobile)
suit to prevent hunters from
mistaking him for aSASQUATCH or
Say What? NIKE!
I am allowed to say that because
I am Canadian.
This years Canadian Open was
held on The North Course at
Angus Glen in Markham, Ontario.
Traditionally, The Canadian Open
has been played at Glenn Abbey
in Ontario and every 10 years at
Royal Montreal, the first golf
course in North America.
Recently, Angus Glen has
taken some of the weight off
these two famous courses. In
1957, Arthur Stollery, a mining
investor, bought some farmland in Markham, Ontario to raise
cattle and breed thoroughbred horses. The landscape
resembled Scotlandfs rolling hills. In 1992, after many years of
breeding winning thoroughbred horses, Arthur Stollery and his
son, Gordon started to build the golf course. Fittingly, they
named the course Angus Glen after the Angus Cattle that they
had raised for many years. Unfortunately, Arthur Stollery
passed away in 1994, one year before it opened. Gordon
continued his fathers legacy by building a great community
around the course. In fact, in 1996, Golf Digest awarded Angus Glen as best new golf course in Canada. In
2002,The South Course hosted The Canadian Open. Davis
Love lll, led the renovations of the North Course in preparation
for this years Open.
How hard is the Course?
First of all, the fairways are riddled with 2-4 foot high sod lined
bunkers. Hey! Just like
rough also has high grass
to give you that Scottish
Highlands feeling of guilt
for hitting too far right or
left. If you do manage to
hit the fairway you are
almost guaranteed a good
lie. As for the greens, they
are well irrigated and in
great shape, although a
little fast. Well, what great
course doesn't have fast
greens? And just if you
were thinking... Yes! Each
hole has five sets of tees for each type of player. And finally, if
you are lucky, you may find some petrified cow droppings in the
old paddock area of the exfarm course. In some countries they
are considered to have homeopathic qualities, while in Canada
they are considered a great substitute for a tennis ball in a
street hockey game.
The History of the Canadian Open
Royal Montreal 1904
The first winner of the Canadian Open was John H Oke. But the question is: Who was the last Canadian to win the frigid cold Canadian Open?
Drum roll please....
The answer is: Pat Fletcher 1954.
Recently, Mike Weir (Canadian) battled Vijay Singh for the 2004 title and almost won. That year a great Canadian golfer passed away. MOE NORMAN, the self proclaimed "747 of golf" played golf literally on the run. He had been compared to Ben Hogan and Lee Trevino as one of the best Ball Strikers of all time.
Moe's disheveled look and bumbling mumblings made him appear to be "The Rainman" of golf. His intense shyness kept him from making a great career as a PGA pro but he was a legend on the Canadian circuit. In 1971, he was leading the Quebec Open by a stroke and on the final hole he was the first player to land the par 5 in 2 . He noticed that none of the crowd acknowledged his great shot. He became agitated and ended up 4 putting and losing. The next day, at The Canadian Open practice round, held at Royal Montreal, a fan yelled out, "Hey Moe any more 4 putts?" Moe drove the ball on the 223 10th hole and watched it land on the green, turned to the mouthy fan and said, "I'm not putting today." All watched his ball roll into the hole for one of his 17 aces in his career.
HOW ABOUT THEM TOOTH PICS RAINMAN !
(If you don't get it watch the movie)
In fact, Oscar winning screenwriter, Barry Morrow of Rainman fame was optioned by Warner Brothers to make a movie about Moe's life but the financing, recently, fell through.
My personal claim to fame at the Canadian Open was in 1980
at Royal Montreal when Bob Gilder won. I had the distinct
honor of carrying the mini scoreboard for Bob Gilder and Jerry
Pate. Bob was a pretty straight forward player but Pate had a
confidence and a Je ne sais quoi that allured many women to
to follow him around the course, much to my
puerile, prurient, 16-year-old delight.
THE BEST EVER JOB at the 1980 Open
My, 14 year old tomboy, sister, Robyn, was assigned to be the
caddie tent caretaker. Her job entailed giving towels out to
caddies and serving water. Most of the caddies were very kind.
She did, however have a run in with
Lee Trevino's famed jumbo caddie, Herman Mitchell. On the first day, Robyn
walked into the caddie tent with an air of confidence.
Determined to make her presence felt and be considered cool,
and knowing nothing about conditions in the U.S., cleared her
throat and screamed out, "OK boys I am in charge here!" Herman Mitchell, who grew up in the South couldn't stand being called boy. The problem was Herman was the only caddie in the tent who didn't realize that Robyn was a naive Canadian girl. So the large angry man approached Robyn determined to teach her a lesson. "Listen little boy...."
The other caddies started laughing.... Herman began to steam.... Robyn said in a sweet little girls tone. "Excuse me but I'm a girl." Herman was left speechless then broke out laughing with his other caddies. By the end of the tournament, Robyn had amassed a vast collection of signature golf balls by players such as Hubert Green, Tom Weiskopf, Chi Chi Rodrigez and of course Lee Trevino.
Two weeks ago, on a lazy 26 degree Celsius summer day, Jim Furyk, sporting a Tiger red shirt, won the Bell Canadian Open for the second year in a row. In honor of Moe, Jim aced the par 3 4th hole at The Angus Glen North Course in Markham, Ontario. What a clutch performance.
Contrary to popular belief, there were no sightings of beavers, Sasquatches or skidoo suits. Could it be that Canada is in the midst of a major global warming or is due recognition of being a great place to play golf?
Willy Badger, 11 August 2007
Willy has been living in Japan for 12 years. He is a "Daidogei" comic juggler living in Gunma, Japan. In 2008, Willy's mission is to introduce golfers to the beautiful Hot Springs & Outdoor Activities of Gunma. Recently, Willy became director of Sports Management Worldwide Japan, an athlete management company and online education University with offices in America, India and the U.K.
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