My man's got putter problems
By ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun
COCHRANE -- Scott Dunlap, who has seen his share of golf courses on the Canadian, South African, Nationwide and PGA Tours, summed up GlenEagles best.
"It's got the prettiest views on tour," said the veteran pro who was paired up with my weekend employer, Charles Warren, early yesterday.
"I went to Lake Louise the other night with my wife and it was so beautiful, it looked fake," added Charles on the driving range earlier. "I thought the flowers were about to start singing and dancing."
While few of the golfers at the Alberta Calgary Classic are impressed with the Cochrane course's layout, which features far more sloped greens and elevated tees than they deem appropriate, they love Calgary and all its sights.
Zipping around the course in 3 1/2 hours as the third group of the morning, Dunlap, a winner of $2.4 million on the PGA Tour, enjoyed his surroundings even more after firing a 67. Meanwhile, Charles continued to go unrewarded for being one of the most accurate hitters on tour. Lipping out a handful of times en route to a 2-under 68, Charles, the man who leads the tour in nicknames, spent a good part of his round keeping tabs on the splendour that is college football. And while I've been sworn to secrecy on exactly how he received frequent updates on the season-opening game between Georgia and his alma mater Clemson, I can tell you his school didn't have any more luck than he did yesterday.
My man Chuck is trying his damnedest to fight off the frustration that comes with being unable to solve a putting problem that is the only thing preventing him from challenging for a top-20 standing on the money list. (He's 35th).
"The putter is obviously my missing link and, at this level, it all comes down to putting," said my man Charlie.
"You can hit it as good as you want but, if you don't putt well, you're not going to contend -- there are no exceptions."
To clear his mind following the round, my man Chuckie Cheese headed down to the Bow River for the second time this week to fly fish.
Meanwhile, I, as his caddy, headed straight for the onsite medical centre where Dr. Brian Abelson from Edgemont Chiropractic tended to my ailing back and shoulders using painful but effective Active Release Therapy. I can walk upright now.
While the PGA Tour offers such services at every tourney stop, Dr. Abelson and Dr. Ritchie Mah are at the course as volunteers and have been swamped with customers ranging from tourney frontrunners as Jeev Singh and John Morse to Gary Nicklaus and the longest-hitting tour player in golf history, Victor Schwamkrug.
My man C 'Dubya says players today now realize, thanks to Tiger Woods, they need to take care of their bodies and their minds to compete with the best. Regular work with sports psychiatrists, therapists and fitness trainers have given rise to former Nationwide Tour competitors like Shaun Micheel (1996, '99) and Ben Curtis (Monday qualifier last year) who shocked the world with wins at majors this year. My man says their recent success has had a big impact on this tour.
"It is huge," said my man Chuckie Love, who also sought help from the local doctors. "You didn't see that five or 10 years ago. It's very encouraging to know that the gap between competing and winning out here is a lot less than it used to be."
Tied for 39th and 11 shots behind the leader, Charles knows victory is out of reach this week. However, his paycheque (er, our paycheque) depends heavily on how he fares today. Something tells me a 62 or 63 would ensure he remembers Calgary fondly in possible every way.
I just know my man can do it, too.