Tears for Lorie

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:21 AM ET

As a kid in high school, Oliver Martin would skateboard on the smooth marble in front of the towering buildings on Bay Street in Toronto.

He dreamed of being an investment banker within the mirrored facades of those same buildings and, later armed with a degree from the John Molson School of Business from Concordia University, he was on his way to his goal of retiring at 35.

Instead, he was dead at 25.

Martin was shot through the heart June 13, a Friday, along with a friend while they sat in an idling Range Rover outside a friend's house in downtown Toronto, waiting while some forgotten keys were retrieved. They had watched an NBA playoff game. Police think it was a botched carjacking, their killer perhaps skulking away on a bicycle. Maybe, as a motive, the cyclist had been cut off in traffic. There has been no explanation, no suspect, no arrest.

Lorie Kane, Canada's LPGA star, still can't make sense of a senseless act which brutally ripped her cousin from family and friends in Toronto and her native Prince Edward Island.

"How does that happen?" wondered Kane again yesterday, asking the question that seems to have no answer, nothing to fill the void which has agonizingly swallowed her up this year. It has been a devastating few months. Martin's murder followed the death of Dr. Barry Ling, her dad's best friend and "a second father to me," earlier this year, she said, and then the passing of her aunt, Susan.

Martin's murder received huge play in the media, but Kane revealed the connection for the first time yesterday, unable to hold back the tears when asked about her struggles on the course lately. After explaining she was playing better than her scores were showing, she said: "We have some issues at home. In 43 years, I haven't lost anybody and in the last year, I've lost three."

The emotions for Kane are obviously still raw and close to the surface. There was a memorial service for Oliver just a couple of weeks ago in P.E.I. Oliver was interred in P.E.I. with their grandfather and Kane is still grappling with Oliver's violent end and the questions that inevitably intrude upon those left to wonder how and why.

"I look at Oliver and there's no reason for that. I thought we had good gun laws in this country," said Kane. "He was a young man with his life in front of him. It's just very tragic."

The tragedy that is the shocking, premature end to a life of a loved one, a life that seemed to hold so much promise, must lay to waste the normal perspective, as artificial as that "normal" perspective might be for those who lead a privileged existence playing golf for a living.

'LIFE IS TOO SHORT'

"I find myself getting frustrated with my game and I think, 'Life is too short.' Why judge yourself by how many putts you make?" Kane said quietly in a hallway of the clubhouse at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club. "There is more to life than this little bubble we call the LPGA Tour."

A senseless act has pierced that bubble for Lorie Kane.

"My family will be arriving today," she said, "and with all that's gone on, we're going to have a hell of a week."

Kane is optimistic she can manage her way through the tangle of emotions and produce winning golf. Ideally, it would be this week. She peaked in 2001 with 14 Top 10 finishes, winning for the fourth time in two years and climbing to fourth on the money list. She hovered around the top 15 until two years ago when she slipped to 42nd, then 74th last year and now sits at 134th.

Kane composed herself after revealing a pain that is obviously still fresh.

"That's not an excuse to play poor golf," she said. "It's just been tough on the home front. If you came out and watched me hit the ball, you'd say, 'Wow! ... I apologize for crying. I'm in a good position. I'm very fortunate to have had the success I've had and by no means am I anywhere near finishing my career out here.

"I know I can win and (caddie) Danny (Sharp) and I have put in a lot of hours. I spent three good weeks at home with my family and have come to the realization that life goes on regardless of how your golf game is.

"I'll get up tomorrow and come out here and smile and sign autographs and be proud to be a Canadian and proud to be here."

So there is much emotion this week for Kane in a week that always carries more than its share.

"Ahh, the pride of Canada," said LPGA veteran Julie Inkster as she walked onto the first tee at the Hunt yesterday for a practice round and spotted Kane, who remains the popular choice for Canadian golf fans. She is no longer Canada's best player (Alena Sharp has passed her on the money list), but Kane remains our most recognizable and most loved.

She cannot move here without having a hat or flag or ball thrust at her for an autograph.

Despite what she is feeling inside, there are still hundreds strokes of her Sharpie and no fewer smiles.

As if you needed another reason to root for Lorie Kane this week, you have it now.


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