Tuesday, August 27, 2013


The Wildfire Invitational-2013

Several weeks ago, I shared a note with you about a young South African who was wending his way across North America as a touring golf professional. Andrew Georgiou had earned a ticket to the Canadian Open, and was moving on to the Canadian PGA circuit.


                                               Andrew Georgiou, at the Canadian Open
Last weekend, he and his fellow professionals played in Morrisburg, Ontario, near Upper Canada Village. A golfer from Chile, Hugo Leon, birdied two of the final three holes to win his second PGA TOUR Canada victory.


After the final round, Leon breathed a sigh of relief: “This one is big for me. My game hasn’t been the same for me since November of 2011, and I have worked as hard as I ever have in my life the last year and a half to get back there. I feel very accomplished right now, and I feel very happy.” The top five finishers on the tour earn their way onto the “Order of Merit”, and receive a Web.com card for next season. The win moved Leon to the number four position on the list.


                                            Hugo Leon, at the Great Waterway Classic

Leon finished one stroke ahead of Brandon Harkins, from Scottsdale, Arizona. The next four finishers were also from the United States. Andrew Georgiou was next in line, finishing 17 strokes under par, and five shots off the pace. It was Georgiou’s best finish on the tour thus far this season. He shot a sparkling 62 in the second round of the tourney, establishing a course record in the Great Waterway Classic.


I spoke with him after the tourney. “I am really pleased with the result,” he told me. He and his group of more than a hundred fellow pros were packing their bags to head to Peterborough for this week’s tournament.


At this point in their careers, it is a grind. There is a large pot of gold at the end of the golfing rainbow, but it is tough to get there. It is comparable to a minor hockey player setting his skate on the ice in the NHL.


The Wildfire Invitational will be played on Stoney Lake, in the heart of Kawartha country. Opened in 2003, it is a private club that will entertain your membership providing that you bring along your cheque book. A little more than twenty grand will get you on the first tee.


A couple of lads from the Belleville area will tee it up at Wildfire. Jon Mills and his brother Jeff are expected to play in the tournament. They are the sons of Dave Mills, a recent inductee into the Belleville Sports Hall of Fame. Jeff Mills is the Director of Golf at Wildfire. He attended Jacksonville University in Florida, and played PGA TOUR Canada from 1996 to 1998. He played the Great Waterway Classic in 2012, and is a member of the 2012 CPGA Titleist Cup Team.


                                                   Jon Mills, with his dad, Dave Mills
Jon Mills won twice on the Web.com Tour, and was the PGA Tour Canada Order of Merit winner in 2003. He has played more than 250 events on the PGA TOUR and the Web.com Tour.


The Wildfire is the seventh of nine events on the PGA TOUR Canada summer season. Course owner, Glenn Stonehouse, has pulled out all the stops for this tournament. He is inviting a few of his friends and the amateur golfers from the event over to his “cottage” for an evening of music with Ronnie Hawkins and the Webber Brothers. Hawkins also lives on Stoney Lake, and recently earned the honour of being inducted into Canada’s “Walk of Fame”. “The Hawk” has been a legendary part of the Canadian music scene for decades. We grew up humming Hawkins’ tunes. I can almost hear “Mary Lou” ready to steal the keys of my Cadillac car. She has my diamond ring, and “watch and chain”.


As is always the case in major tournaments, there are practice rounds and Pro-Am events before the serious golf begins on Thursday. The tournament wraps up on Sunday. In 2015, the PGA TOUR Canada will host the event at the Black Bear Ridge course just north of Belleville. Mark that on your calendar right now. But I plan to see you at Wildfire this week. Check “wildfire.com” for details.



James Hurst

August 27, 2013  


Friday, August 23, 2013


Prince Edward County Sports Hall of Fame-2013

Louis C. Garrison


Lou Garrison was born in Cambellford, Ontario on January 31, 1937. A short time later, the family moved to Picton. He attended Mary Street School in Picton, and then Prince Edward Collegiate. He played all sports during those years, but his first love was golf. He started playing at the Picton Golf Club with Fred Purcell as his teacher. After the game, Lou helped out at the family farm, or with his father at the Picton Auction Barn. He won the club championship in Picton three times. He then decided to make a career out of golf. In 1968, he worked as a pro at the Rosedale Golf Club in Toronto with Harold Hambleton. He moved on to Lyford Cay in the Bahamas. He was one of the first golf pros to use video in his instruction.

                                      John Lipson receiving a trophy from Lou Garrison
But it was in 1988, as a pro playing out of the Sutton Creek Golf Club, that he really made his mark. He won the Canadian Seniors Championship, and received an exemption to play in the Senior British Championship at Turnberry in Scotland. Lou fired a 69 on his opening round, and was pleased to see his name on the leader board with Gary Player and other greats of the game. Afterwards, he earned his card to play on the U. S. Men’s Senior Tour.

Lou died in Windsor, June 16, 1992.


Word Count: 232


Prince Edward County Sports Hall of Fame-2013

Carol Anne Ireland


Carol Anne Ireland was born in Kingston, Ontario, August 19, 1940. She moved to Prince Edward County when she was ten years old, and attended St. Barbara’s School at Picton Heights, and Prince Edward Collegiate. She returned to The County in 1988, at first on the Glenora Road, and then to Wellington-On-The-Lake.


She began participating in her sport when she was 26 years old. She remembers her complete dedication to archery, from the beginning. “I more or less practised eight hours a day, seven days a week. I put the kids on the bus, then headed out to shoot. I was really determined to do well at the sport.” Her efforts soon paid off, as she won the Ontario Outdoor Championship three times, and the Indoor Ontario title four times. She qualified for the Canadian World team on three occasions, and for two years was the Canadian Champion. She was also the first Canadian woman to shoot 1100 FITA. In 1969, she won a Silver Medal at the World championship in Valley forge, Pennsylvania. In 1972, she came within one point of qualifying for the Olympic team which was headed to Berlin. She was a member of the Canadian Ambassador Cup team five times.


Word Count: 207

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Prince Edward County Sports Hall of Fame-2013

Daniel Douglas Foster Dulmage


Dan Dulmage was born in Picton, March 1, 1950. He was raised at the family home at South Bay on Babylon Road, in Prince Edward County. He attended two elementary schools, Roses School and South Marysburgh School, before heading off to Prince Edward Collegiate. He enjoyed all sports as a youth, and excelled as a softball pitcher. He led the Picton Legion Bantam team to the Ontario finals in 1965.

                                         Dan Dulmage, at the Family Farm on the Babylon Road

In his final year of high school, football was re-introduced to The County. Dan played on that team and was scouted by Tom Mooney from McGill-but at a basketball game! He attended McGill, and made the varsity football team, as a freshman. He was drafted by the Calgary Stampeders, but chose to stay in Ontario at Western. He played there in 1971 and 1972, and was an all star both years. He also won the award as the most valuable lineman. In 1973, while completing his third and fourth years of dentistry, Dan joined the Hamilton Tiger Cats of the Canadian Football League.

                                                 Chasing Argonauts QB Joe Theisman
That same year, perennial all star Angelo Mosca retired from football, and Dan took his place as a defensive lineman. Following his football career, he coached high school football in Dunnville. In 2010, his 1971 Mustang football team was inducted into the University of Western Ontario Hall of Fame.

                                                 On the prowl after Ottawa's Rick Cassatta



Tennis and Baseball on a Sunday Afternoon. 




Within a matter of thirty seconds, my Canadian pride was wounded on two separate occasions last Sunday.


First of all, Milos Raonic from Thornhill, the best Canadian tennis player ever to lace up a pair of tennis shoes, lost in straight sets to Rafael Nadal. Nadal hails from Spain, and has been at the forefront of tennis for many years. Raonic moved into the top ten of the men’s tennis ranks for the first time in his career.


Raonic defeated another Canadian, Vasek Pospisil from Vancouver, in the semi-final, another historic moment. That has never happened before.


Expectations are high for these young Canadian players. Raonic has a remarkably strong serve, and at one point it clocked 237 kph! Now you see it, now it’s my point! With a strong net game, he will do well. There is a lot of wear and tear in tennis, and we have yet to discover how well he will be able endure the tough grind on the pro circuit.


They interviewed an old Canadian, Bob Bedard, during the match. He was careful to point out that he also played in the Canadian men’s final, but that the circumstances were entirely different. None of the top pros at that time played in the Canadian Open. It was an amateur event.


Nadal was most respectful after the match. One interviewer intimated that the match was just a warm up for the U. S. Open, starting in a couple of weeks. Nadal chastised him for the remark. He said that the Canadian event was equally important to him, that he loved playing in Montreal. He called the match “amazing”, and felt that he had played excellent tennis.


Certainly experience was a factor in the outcome. Nadal has likely hit a few more million balls than Raonic. With experience comes the ability to anticipate well. Nadal often moved to where Raonic was going to hit the ball, rather than chasing. And when he did have to move quickly, he got to ball. Final result? 6-2, 6-2.


Less than twenty seconds later, I watched Jose Reyes ground out to second base for the final out in the ninth inning, as the Toronto Blue Jays fell to the Oakland Athletics. The Jays had been given ample opportunity to bury the A’s, because the Oakland pitchers had trouble locating home plate. They walked more than ten Jays in the game, and most of them were left on base.


You realize of course that Pat Tabler and Buck Martinez were not happy about the Jays’ squandering opportunities. They are both very experienced ball players, and have a wealth of baseball knowledge to share with the viewers. What drives me crazy, and leads me on occasion to mute the sound, is that they are constantly predicting what is about to happen in the game. They often guess at pitches, predicting types and locations. They manage the game from the broadcast booth, rather than letting the game play out on its own. I don’t mind it when they criticize stupidity. But it often comes down to simple judgement, and they are not always correct.


There are many reasons why the Jays are in the basement this year, and it requires a little patience to remain faithful. But I know that fans in the Quinte area enjoy the Jays, and travel by the busload to the Rogers Centre for the games.


There will be a host of prospects entering the fray come September, rekindling an interest in the Blue Birds. In that group, there will be duds and studs. You make the call!



James Hurst


August 12, 2013.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013


The RBC Canadian Open- A Final Look

The Professional Golfers’ Association has set up shop in Rochester, New York, this week. Last weekend, Tiger Woods again asserted himself, running away with the Grecian urn at the Bridgestone Invitational. The golfing world keeps track of its better players through a statistic called the “Fedex Cup”.


Players are allotted a certain number of points for their play at each PGA event. Because of his fine play this year, Woods leads the pack in the Fedex standings. At the end of the golf season, players pick up a little extra pocket money for their work, according to the standings. I believe the player who finishes first gets one million dollars, although it could be a zillion. At any rate, it is a way to determine which player had a good season.


The second and third players on the list are Matt Kuchar and Brandt Snedeker. As I am sure you are aware, Snedeker picked up a few points when he won the RBC Canadian Open. He was most grateful to Hunter Mahan after the tournament. Mahan led the tourney after two rounds, leaving two rounds to play. He got to Glen Abbey for his third round, only to discover that his wife was in labour back home.

                                                     Hunter Mahan, After Practice 

He made a very wise decision at that time. He packed up his gear and headed home. He left quite a few shekels on the table, considering that the winner in Oakville was to receive more than $ 1 000 000 for his efforts. No matter. Off he went, and was at the hospital when his wife presented him with a baby girl. Snedeker noted in his comments after the victory that he would be presenting that baby with a nice little gift, in due time.


Down the road, that will not be a decision that Mahan will regret. Without being too cynical, I am certain endorsements will more than compensate for the money he left in Toronto. And a legion of followers will join his ranks, as one of the good guys on the circuit.


There are a few fascinating plaques around the course at Glen Abbey. One of the plaques recognizes a particular shot made by Tiger Woods which led to his winning the Open several years ago. It was a six iron, I will have you know, plucked out of a fairway bunker, landing on the green.


Another plaque explains the name of the course. Glen Abbey is a relatively new course, developed in the 1960s. Originally, it was a private estate of 350 acres, including a fine stone mansion. Andre Dorfman had the keys, and he was a successful mining engineer. In 1953, he sold the estate to the Jesuit Fathers, who used it as a retreat for the men of the Toronto and Hamilton Dioceses. Thus the word “Abbey” was permanently associated with the site.


At that time, a group of businessmen took over the site and developed it into the Upper Canada Country Club. In 1970, another group took control, and hired golf legend jack Nicklaus to design a spectator-friendly, championship quality golf course as the permanent home of the Canadian Open. It opened in 1976, and hosted its first of 23 straight Opens in 1977. Next year the Open will be played in Montreal.


I attended a Canadian Open in London, Ontario, at the London Hunt and Country Club in 1970. The late Gary Bowerman, a pro from Belleville, played well that year, and was on the leader board heading into the final rounds. He finished in a tie for 22nd place, with George Knudson. Each received a little more than $ 1 100! Two other Canadian notables were also there: Gary Cowan and Al Balding.


In 1954, Pat Fletcher won the title at the Point Grey Golf and Country Club. He was the last Canadian to win the Canadian Open. Mike Weir tied for the title in 2004 at Glen Abbey, then lost in a playoff to Vijay Singh. Weir received almost half a million for his second place finish.


There are several other fine Canadian players on the circuit who could hoist the hardware some day: Graham DeLaet, David Hearn, Matt McQuillan, Adam Hadwin, Brad Fritsch, and Stephen Ames, to name a few. Belleville’s Jon Mills had a couple of respectable showings recently at the Open.


You may play through. Thanks!


August 6, 2013. 

Monday, August 05, 2013


Prince Edward County Sports Hall of Fame 2013

Rebecca Lynne Chambers


Rebecca Chambers was born March 9, 1970. When she was three, she moved to Prince Edward County and attended Athol Public School. She participated in a variety of sports in elementary school, but specialized in gymnastics.  She attended Prince Edward Collegiate, and continued participating in gymnastics with the Quinte Bay Gymnastic Club in Belleville, and the Kingston Gymnastic Club. She won a silver medal for PECI at the OFSSA level. She then enrolled in the Physical Education program at York University in Toronto. She continued to excel in gymnastics, winning awards at the national level while at York. Although she participated in all areas of gymnastics, she considers the floor and the beam as her two best events.

Despite the fact that she was not involved in track and field in high school, nor as an undergraduate, in 1993, she joined the York University track and field club, and six months later began to participate in pole vault. She was Canadian (Outdoor) champion in 1995 and 1999, and outdoor record holder from 1995 to 1997. In 1998, Rebecca was Canadian University champion. She represented Canada at several international events, including the Commonwealth Games in 1998, and the Pan Am Games in 1999. She was inducted into the University of Toronto Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.

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