SCOREGolf Summer 2014 UberFlip

scoregolf spring magazine devoted to the best of golf travel, instruction, stories and the 50 best things about golf. Plus a feature on Mike Weir 10th anniversary Masters win.

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Page 103 of 103

Partingshot Commentary from our writer-at-large I was thrilled when Mike Weir won the 2003 Masters. I was working on a book about Weir and was on the edge of my seat in a stand reserved for media beside the 18th green as he stood over a seven- foot putt he needed to get into a playoff against Len Mattiace. He made the putt, and I was furiously scribbling away when writer Rick Reilly turned to me and said, "Are you going to write your whole damn book here? We can't move." I was at the end of a row and blocking my colleagues. Most recently, I couldn't move from my chair while watching Eugenie Bouchard and Milos Raonic as they went deep at Wimbledon. I felt the same as when George Knudson won two consecu- tive PGA Tour events in 1968 in Arizona. I was thrilled when Marlene Streit was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2004, and made sure I attended the ceremony in St. Augustine, Fla. Such moments are memorable. I was wrapped up in watching Brooke Henderson tie for 10th in this year's U.S. Women's Open. I made a point of watching her practise a couple of weeks later for the Ontario Women's Amateur at Brampton GC. My eyes were big when Graham DeLaet was the star of the International Team at the 2013 Presidents Cup. I felt a strong sense of disappoint- ment when David Hearn came close to winning the 2013 John Deere Classic — he had a five-foot putt to win, but lipped out. I rushed home to watch the end of the tournament. I had to see it unfold. But the nature of my intense absorption in some tournaments doesn't stop me from wondering how it happens that the value of a country can appear connected to how an athlete or team is performing. Had Weir missed that par putt at Augusta Nation- al, I wouldn't have thought something was horribly wrong in Canadian golf. Yet I'm asked at least a few times a week why more Canadians aren't winning at the highest levels of the game. I often hear panic in the questions, as if the real question is, "What's wrong with us as a country? Are we losers??" Meanwhile, I'm thinking about the bizarre scenes all over Brazil when Germany annihilated the country's national team 7-1 in the World Cup semifinal game — and the World Cup was being played in Brazil. National disaster. People crying in the streets. Pandemonium. Fans burning the Brazilian flag in Sao Paolo. Riot police. Humilia- tion. Embarrassment. There were reports that the outcome could influence the presidential election in October. Can the country's internal self-worth be so tied up in how it fared in the World Cup? I get the pleasure fans feel over watching superb performances, but I'm not so comfortable with the notion that it's important for a country to do well in sports. What I love about sports is that we get to watch high-performance athletes who have worked so hard get the most out of themselves. It's inspir- ing and exciting to watch them come through. At the same time, sports can induce a kind of religious fervour in people. I remember shuddering while walking down the 17th fairway at Glen Abbey GC in Oakville, Ont., during the last round of the 2004 Canadian Open. It looked like Mike Weir was about to become the first Canadian in 50 years to win the tournament. Fans were singing O Canada. In the end, Vijay Singh beat Weir in a playoff. I felt sad, along with many Canadians. I am more excited when a Canadian contends in a golf tournament, or shows promise, than a golfer of another nationality. That's natural. I like the feeling of being swept away. There was no way I would leave my television while watching Roger Sloan try to win the Web. com Tour's Nova Scotia Open in early July. Sloan made clutch par putts to get into a playoff against Derek Fathauer. He won and all but secured his PGA Tour card for next year. Scholars study fandom. I observe it. I've seen it in myself. I am more invested in an athletic compe- tition when a Canadian is contending. I just hope I never think less of my country when a Canadian in that position doesn't win. Lorne Rubenstein Fandom ThoughTs The degree to which fans become invested in athletes or teams is fascinating. Equally fascinating is the hand- wringing that sometimes ensues when a player or a team that a fan supports doesn't come through. I can't say I understand any of it, but getting swept up in being a fan certainly adds excitement. " 102 | | SUMMER 2014

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