Ryan Sevigny: 2019 Ottawa Sports Award Winner – Golf
How did you get started in golf? I first started playing when I was 8 but it wasn’t until watching Tiger win the 1997 Masters did I get the bug and think “that’s something I could do”. I was hooked after watching that dominating performance. My dad played so it was easy enough getting to hit balls with him and play when I was first starting out.
What is your most significant memory as a junior golfer? It was when I played in the World Juniors out in San Diego. I was in the 13-14 age category, so I wasn’t on Torrey Pines unfortunately but participating in that and being at Torrey for the opening ceremonies was a great memory. In the second round I shot my first ever sub-par round (-4 68) and found myself in contention going into the final round. Its fun looking back now and seeing that Rickie Fowler was in the event and I was beating him going into the final round.
How fast did your game progress? It progressed quickly between the ages of 12-17 I’d say. I regressed after that until I finished university from going through difficult swing changes and a loss of confidence but I’m proud to have stuck with it and got through it.
When did you decide to pursue collegiate golf in the United States and how was that experience for you? I think collegiate golf in the United States was something I wanted to do shortly after I started playing competitively. Definitely by the time I got to high school it was my focus to head south to play. It was a mixed experience to be honest. I really enjoyed the city and my school and of course I met my wife there, so I’ll always hold that close in my heart. My golf experience wasn’t what I had hoped – I struggled in my first year and never really got comfortable with the collegiate golf experience until my senior year. We had lots of personnel turnover too which made it hard to get into a comfort zone with people. The highlight of my collegiate career was being part of the school’s only appearance in the NCAA national championship in my junior year. Overall it was a great ride that I look back on now and only wish my game was where it’s at now back then.
You’ve worked in the industry, but it has not been your primary career. What made you decide not to work in the industry as a career? I never really saw myself as someone working at a golf course for a career, especially in Canada. My experience in the industry highlighted the fact that many people who work in it end up sacrificing playing to work around the game and as a result of working long hours, looked to escape the golf course that became their work location rather than a sanctuary. I wanted to keep the joy when showing up to a golf course knowing it was because I was there to play. Also, I was never good at teaching, so I didn’t feel there were too many opportunities for me.
As an avid amateur, what is it that drives you to keep playing the game and working on your skills? I have always been a competitive guy and playing golf was something I told myself for a long time that I’d do for a living. I have put a lot into the development of my game since day one and when I made the hard realization that I wasn’t going to make it as a pro player, I thought there was no point competing anymore beyond that. Thankfully I realized there’s still an outlet for me to compete at a high amateur level. The fact my game continued to improve didn’t make walking away from competitions any easier.
How many events a year do you play and how often do you play outside of those tournaments? I have been playing about 10 events a year for the last couple of years. I play about 50-60 rounds a year with 20-30 rounds coming from competitions alone.
Any favourite events or courses you have played through the years? Favourite courses I’ve played in Canada so far are Victoria Golf Club, in Victoria BC and Glencoe Country Club, in Calgary AB. In the United States, I’d have to say Quail Hollow Club, in Charlotte NC is my favourite I’ve played so far. The NCAA National Championship and the Glencoe Invitational would probably be my favourite events I’ve played so far.
What has it meant to have your wife as a caddy for you at many events, to be able to share that experience? It really is hard to explain. It’s such a gift to be able to share in this wonderful game with her – we play often together, and she loves being there during my events to help me and see me succeed. Being able to look back on my competitive days when I’m older and have those memories with her right there by my side with me will be something I’ll forever be grateful for.
What did it mean to you to be recognized in Ottawa Sports Awards as the golfer of the year? It was a tremendous honour to have been recognized for my play last season. I had many strong performances, both locally and regionally that reflected the state of my game, so it feels very nice to have been acknowledged amongst all the athletes of other sports at the awards ceremony.
What goals do you have for your game that you have yet to achieve? Two goals I have for my game that I’ve yet to achieve are playing in a PGA Tour event and winning the Canadian Mid-Am. Winning the Canadian Mid-Am would get me into the RBC Canadian Open so I’m hopeful I can accomplish that goal one day. I hope to win the Alexander of Tunis one day too.
Ed. Note: This profile was featured in the Spring 2020 Print Issue of Flagstick Golf Magazine.