My player this week is Maggie Will.
Sunday: Many of the connecting flights out of Toronto were canceled due to the Halifax airport’s ability to land aircraft in the fog being foiled by repairs. Players were being told that the earliest Air Canada could get them to their destination was Wednesday! Ergo, necessity being the mother of invention, The Amazing Race to Halifax was born. The Amazing Race deserves a page to itself. Look for a link on my home page shortly.
Repeated emails to the BMO transportation chairman assured us that there wouldn’t be transportation for caddies from the airport or hotels unless a players was also in the car. This necessitated a change in our hotel arrangements. Tour caddie, Pete Smith, found alternative lodging in the dorms of Dalhousie University which was only a 25 minute hike from my player’s hotel the Delta Halifax. The kicker was that it also would be saving us about $300 each! Done deal. I gave them a call and we were set. If you ever plan to visit Halifax in the Summer ,and want to save your money for other things, give Dalhousie a try. Just ask for a room in Risley Hall. It’s the most modern dorm on campus.
Monday: Flew out of Columbus and our connection in Toronto picked up a few stragglers from Sunday’s canceled flights. We touched down in Halifax around 1:00 PM and all the consternation concerning transportation was for naught. As usual, the Canadian welcome wagon was in full force and Woody, Thane and I had our own driver. We packed up the mini-van and headed out. Our first stop was the Maritime Motel, Thane’s abode for the week. Woody and I considered staying there until we found the University and I’m glad we didn’t. Their website depicted a quaint mom and pop style motel with each room having a balcony with a view of the water. Maybe at one time but not now. Not in the best of condition either.
Thane dropped off his luggage and took a ride with us to the University. Woody and I checked in and headed for the course. Thane had left his wallet in the room, but did stuff the TV remote control in his pocket, so we returned to the Maritime to swap them out. Finally made it to the course and without a peep of complaint from our driver Jeremy. In fact, he was well over his quitting time for the day but was gracious as could be. We did fill him in on which players to avoid or pick up if he had his choice.
Walked the front nine in between the split of the qualifiers and called it a day.
- Due to the absence of participants, the pro-am was short of players and a few had to drop back between groups to make sure everyone at least played with a pro for a few holes. A rare thunderstorm shortened what was left of this event so the qualifiers could tee it up in the afternoon. It was an open qualifier which allowed just about anyone to participate. They went off both tees and the original four spots were stretched to eleven because players were withdrawing at a rate faster then rats jumping off a sinking ship, which is quite an apropos analogy. Lack of support has sunk this tournament.
- Many of the player’s clubs arrived in locals other than Halifax and no one knew if they would ever make it at all. Heard there were some still going around the carousel in Bangor Main!
- With some caddies having to pay their own way to Halifax, or just wanting to have their car in Canada after the tournament, driving was the choice of transport. Upstate Jay was one of the latter. His choice was to drive from his home in New York and utilize the ferry from Main to Nova Scotia. Unfortunately, he wasn’t planning on the drug sniffing dog at customs detecting the trace of cocaine in his car! Purchasing the alleged crime scene, just a few weeks ago due to his own vehicle being totaled, was his excuse du jour. It worked and he was free to go. By the way, the white residue from the carpet cleaner he used didn’t help matters much.
- The locals like to relate a bit of history while driving you to your destination and on one such trip from the airport an old cemetery was passed. This prompted the female driver to remark “This is where many of the survivors of the Titanic are buried”. She didn’t take it lightly when corrected by one of the caddies that you don’t bury survivors.
Tuesday: Maggie arrived around one o’clock but it wasn’t till almost three before we teed off. Exhausted from The Great Race, we scraped it around the front nine just enough to get a general lay of the land. A tired swing didn’t produce much useful info but at least she saw a few holes. We were done around six, but a nap for Maggie, before her mom arrived, and a tour of Alexander Keith’s Brewery for me was on tap.
- The brewery tour was a gas! It was held at the site of the original structure, now a restaurant, which was constructed back in 1863. It was closer to a theater production than a tour with all the guides remaining in character for that period. Stories, songs and of course unlimited sampling of their finest brew capped off the evening. Had a great time.
- A few golf bags showed up but a good dozen or more players were still without clubs. They were taking out rental sets or just walking the course with their caddie. We heard many bags were in Ottawa waiting approval by the Customs Authority.
- Jennifer Rosales withdrew and so did her caddie Donna, so to speak. Upon receiving notification from J-Ro of her decision, Donna was said to reply “That’s OK, we can’t find the airport anyway!” The we was Donna and her driver Flipper and the airport was DTW (Detroit) one of the easiest to find in the country. I’ll stop here.
Wednesday: Played the back nine prior to the pro-am so at least we got in one full practice round. Practiced for a bit and the rest of the day was scheduled for sightseeing. Maggie, along with her mom and a few others, headed for Peggy’s Cove while I took a stroll along the waterfront.
- Eleven sets of clubs arrived late in the day but at least they got here.
- Sherrie, Preston, Pete and I had dinner at a local establishment known as The Thirsty Duck. A two for one special of fish and chips along with a few pints of the local brew hit the spot. We also sampled a concoction of beef and mushrooms in a Burgundy gravy topped with mashed potatoes. Once the alcohol loosened our tongues, stories of Ellie Gibson, Lorie Garbacz, Dotty Pepper and Ellie Gibson, among others, highlighted the conversation. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.
Thursday: Played to a score of even for the day but was highlighted by an ace on the par 3 seventh hole. Maggie canned a five iron from 158 yards into a stiff wind. Afterwards, she confessed that the only shot she really felt comfortable over was the one she knocked in the agua on fourteen going for the par five with a five wood. Go figure.
Friday: Shot +2 to make the cut but it wasn’t without a lot of hard work. Bogied seventeen and eighteen (teed off the back) to put us at two over and the twenty minute wait at the turn sure didn’t help. Tripled number one and now it’s crunch time. Maggie hung in though, and the putts started to fall. We get to play the weekend.
- The yardage book provided this week had quite a few mistakes especially the green depths. In fact, on the fifth hole, if you used the green depth along with the depth of the pin provided on the pin sheet the hole was one yard over the green! There was actually five more yards behind the pin but the combination of short paces by the rules official and the mistake in the book could be confusing if you didn’t do your homework. This is why we check the next day’s pin positions when time permits.
- Made a bee line to the lobster boil and steak cookout. My choice was steak. Too many merlot prevented me from snapping any photos.
- The lobster boil was just one festivity planned for us this week. There was a fly fishing derby Tuesday morning and later that day a tall ship cruise on Halifax Harbour. Many other tours were offered and the transportation people were more than willing to accommodate are every wish. It is truly a black eye for the LPGA with it’s dismal support for The BMO. Why would any new sponsor get on board. Hope the new commissioner takes note. THESE GIRLS ROCK! If they show up.
Saturday: Shot even to remain at +2 for the event but managed to climb up the leader board a bit.
- I’ve taken plenty of pics of Halifax but this old laptop won’t open them all. Can’t figure out why but I’ll keep trying. My “fixer upper” still has not returned. It was sent directly to the Compaq repair facility in Dallas. No idea when I’ll see it again.
Sunday: Just too many bogies and too few birds put us way down the list. The trip was worth it though. We were probably part of the last LPGA event to held in Canada for awhile.
- Not a good week for caddies.
Doug Wilbur quit Katherine Hull after Friday’s round and finished the week with Stephanie Loudon’s husband on the bag. They had a falling out last week but patched things up. That seems to never work out. Katherine finished second by the way!
A. J. Eathorne fired her looper during the second round.
Aree Song’s caddie, Rick Wynn, showed up on the second hole today with the excuse of over sleeping. Don’t know the aftermath of that one.
- Seems there still are airline problems out of Halifax. A flight to Newark which connected to one bound for Evian was canceled. I know Meg Mallon’s cadero, John Kaleen, was on it and probably Meg also. She didn’t look very pleased jamming clubs into her bag.
- Heard last week was Anna Acker’s swan song. Packed it in for her career.
- Talk on the range today focused on the new commissioner officially taking the reins this week and I casually ask if anyone knew her name. We went 0-6 asking players. One caddie knew it.
- It was nice to eat in the hospitality area with the players this week. I actually watched the end of a golf tournament from the primo balcony overlooking the eighteenth green.