Montreal Championship and The Tunis Notes

The heart of the golf season is here which means the Flagstick Team is putting in a few extra hours and driving more than a few extra kilometres these days.

I was down in Montreal all day Sunday for the Champions Tour Montreal Championship.

Once again it was a very well-run event and every player I spoke with praised the tournament.

Unlike the first year, the crowds were a little smaller this year (likely due to a player like Fred Couples having to pull out due to injury) but the fans were vocal and let the pros know they were there.

It would have been nice to see more than 91 people (yes, I counted) greet Canadian Rod Spittle as he closed out his record-breaking 62 on Sunday, but then again, he did start on the 10th tee and finish on the 9th so it was somewhat understandable.

John Cook was spectacular in shooting 21 under par.  I noticed online that one writer (who I have yet to see attend the tournament, I might add) was critical about the Club de Golf Fontainebleau being a “soft” host course but the reality is that the Champions Tour is all about feeding the fans.  The formula is to take well-known names of the past and allow them to make birdies and eagles that the spectators can admire.  I’m not sure if the Tour would really have that much appeal to the average golf fan if the scoreboard was highlighted by par streaks…

Congratulations to David Skitt and the Synchro Sports team for their work in putting on the Montreal Championship.  The 3rd version, in 2012, is highly anticipated.

One last note of the Champions Tour event.  Canadian Brennan Webb, who has played the Nationwide, Canadian, and mini-tours, was on the bag of John Huston in Montreal.  According to Webb, who I caught up with for a pre-final round chat before his bossed played in the final pairing, the two live about 20 minutes from each other in Florida and play and practice together on occasion.  Webb has not quite ready to hang up his own clubs for a caddy gig however; this was a one-time arrangement.  Webb actually played in the Massachusetts Open just prior to the Montreal Championship where he ended up in 45th place.  With a one and half year-old in the house now he says he is seriously considering exploring other options to keep him closer to home and with a more regular income that what pro golf affords.  He has recently completed training in the financial services business and will be looking to that field as his career away from golf.

In quite a contrast I followed up the Champions Tour visit with an all-day stop into the Ottawa Hunt & Golf Club for the 62nd Alexander of Tunis Championship.  Charles Cote played a great final round with a 66 to win but in general I made one big observation at the event – many of the players are painfully slow.

I spoke with a number of veteran players about that topic when I was there, some with past pro experience and a history of playing other elite sports.  The general consensus was some of the younger players spend far too much time thinking on the course rather than just playing and relying on their developed instincts to carry them along.  “A lot of them are over-coached,” one player told me.  “Sure they have to have a process to consider all the factors in their shot but some of the routines are pretty over-done.  I mean, if they shot better scores then maybe they could justify it but a lot of them are just slow and not really producing any great rounds so what’s the point?”

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