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Canadian and Irish Golfers

If you are not an avid golfer, go fish. But for those of us who have been hooked on golf, in Canada and Ireland for many years, the rise to the top of Mike Weir, the lefty from Canada, and of Padraig Harrington in Ireland, necessitates a rewrite in this, the month of March, of a popular song.

When Irish/Canadian hearts are happy,
All the world seems bright and gay.
And when Irish/Canadian eyes are smiling,
Sure they'd steal your heart away.

Mike Weir has started off the year 2003 like a cyclone, winning two major titles on the American P.G.A. tour, both times coming from behind in the final round, and one of them in a two-hole playoff.

Padraig Harrington, the peripatetic Padraig Harrington, has proven himself a champion in more countries than you could shake a one-iron at, and a popular one at that, never mind that sports commentators call him anything from Padraig to Pauric to Paddy.

Both have had the distinction of winning against the premier golfer in the world, Tiger Woods. Both are a credit to their countries. If you are operating a web site linking Canada and Ireland, when either wins it a cause for elation.

They can be an inspiration to young and old. "If they can do it, so can I!"

Actually I did it once. It was a magical round for someone who once had a fourteen handicap. It started on the tenth hole, a par five, 610 yards long. Normally a par six, or more, on this particular day I was just short of the green in two, and my chip to the green-yes-found the hole! An eagle!

Fired up, a six-iron found the green, ten, maybe twelve feet from the pin, on the eleventh, a par three.

Try to follow an eagle with a birdie! Talk about pressure on a weekend player! Somehow the putt reached the brink of the hole, seemed to hesitate, and after an agonizing moment, dropped in.

When I bent over to pick the ball out of the cup I had a good look at it. It was as good as new. Not a mark on it. Usually I would have left a crease, even a small cut on it after finishing the first nine holes. But this one was unmarked, without a blemish. I can see it today. A Wilson Staff. There is absolutely no reason for me to mention that fact.

I have played many kinds of golf balls, the old Dunlop 67 when it was smaller than the ones used in the States, the new Titleist when it made its debut, and the old reliable Club Special sold in every clubhouse shop. I haven't a clue where I picked up the Wilson Staff. Maybe I found it as lost ball in the rough, put it in my bag, and pulled it out that day without thinking anything about it.

I could go on and on. The twelfth was also a par five. On in three, and two putts. The thirteenth, a treacherous dogleg to the right, trees on either side. Again a par. The fourteenth, a long par four. My drive seemed to fly for ever, my approach perfect, four feet shot of the flag stick, and again the putt dropped.

I was four under heading into the fifteenth. I had never had such a run. Everything was going my way.

Then I woke up. It was February in Ottawa. There was a foot of snow on the ground. Snow on the trees, snow on the roads, snow on the fences, snow everywhere. And there was frost on the windows of the cars and the houses.

Still, it was the best round of golf I ever played, even though I don't know how it finished.

Mike Weir, Padraig Harrington, even Tiger Woods, can rest easy. I won't be challenging them any time soon.

As the Tailor was wont to say, "Take life easy and life will take you easy."…(from "The Tailor and Antsy" by Eric Cross.)


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