Dawn of a new era

IAN HUTCHINSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:54 AM ET

She may have a tournament or two left in 2008, but this week's CN Canadian Women's Open in Ottawa is her last LPGA Tour stop in her home and native land, according to Canadian Golf Hall of Fame member Dawn Coe-Jones, who has a cool idea about what she will do now.

"I do really want to learn how to drive a Zamboni," said Coe-Jones, 47, who can call on her British Columbia roots for training. "That may happen. I have connections in Lake Cowichan. I could probably get taught how to drive it."

The renowned hockey fan can put that training to good use between periods at Lightning games near her Tampa home, but she may want to hold out until her deal includes a trip to Montreal to clear the ice for her beloved Habs.

"Wouldn't that be great? First woman Zamboni driver in the NHL. That could be the start of something," she said.

A golf guy isn't going to research whether she would be the first or not, but her sense of humour is a big reason why Coe-Jones will be missed as a tour regular.

For now, her focus on the rink will be as hockey mom.

"What am I going to do now? I don't know and I don't feel pressure to have to make that decision," said Coe-Jones.

That decision, whenever it comes, will follow a frustrating final season in a 25-year career that saw Coe-Jones win three tournaments, four if you count the unofficial 1992 Pizza-La LPGA Matchplay Championship.

Coe-Jones' final whirl around the tour isn't quite working out the same as Annika Sorenstam's. The only entry is a missed cut at the Ginn Tribute in May.

It was her first competition after breaking her foot and suffering a high ankle sprain.

"They said four to six (weeks) and then, (the doctor) said six to eight and I got tears in my eyes and on week 16, I was so mad, I couldn't even see straight. It was very disappointing,'' she said.

"It put me out mentally too, more than anything."

Coe-Jones' final tournament in Canada will be enhanced by the induction of her pal Lisa Walters into the Canadian hall. Both were part of the second wave of Canadians who arrived in the 1980s after trailblazers Sandra Post and Jocelyne Bourassa.

"I will go to Ottawa. I will be thrilled,'' Coe-Jones said. "Obviously, my expectation of playing well and doing well won't be high.

"It's a nice place to go out, the nation's capital and all that good stuff, and I will continue to be that proud Canadian," said Coe-Jones, who was reminded on a recent visit to Ottawa of a hole in one she had in 1994 at the Hunt Club.

"This guy told me he was sitting there and watched it go in. I said: 'I think it's time for me to move on. I don't even remember the hole in one' --from reading glasses to bifocals to loss of memory," she said with a laugh.

It may not be age blocking her memory of that ace, but so many other events that took place in Canada over the years. The only time Coe-Jones missed a Canadian LPGA Tour stop was in 1995, the year her son Jimmy Jr. was born. In 23 appearances, she has seven top 10s and some fine memories.

"Even though I didn't win in Canada, I had a lot of really good finishes. Those were a blast. Those were fun," she said.

"To be in the hunt in Canada, I look back and think about those and the shots that I hit in Canada and it's like: 'Wow, that's cool.'

"I still made the best shot ever in the whole, wide world to make eagle at 18 at Glen Abbey (in 1997) to miss the cut by one. I'm like: 'Hey, that's a memory for me.'"

Perhaps another Canadian will come along soon to match her performances, but the real challenge for the newcomer will be providing the number of laughs that Coe-Jones provided over the last quarter century.


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