Shades of Tin Cup

STEVE BUFFERY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:42 AM ET

Jay Williamson had a tough day at Angus Glen Golf Club yesterday.

The St. Louis native shot a one-over-par 72, to finish 10 strokes behind the leader Hunter Mahan after the opening round at the Canadian Open.

Worse, the former Trinity College (Conn.) hockey star, who is a huge fan of the St. Louis Blues, fired his caddy on the 14th hole after the two began arguing over how the hole should play out.

"I don't want to make a big deal out of it," said the personable Williamson, who has bounced between the Nationwide and PGA Tours from 1995-2006. "But I guess you could say we had an old-style hockey brawl out there."

While they actually didn't fight, Williamson did give his caddy (Mike Mollet) his walking papers and recruited an elderly gentleman from the Angus Glen gallery to carry his bag the rest of the way.

"It worked out well," said Williamson, who talks NHL hockey whenever he gets the chance and has enrolled his four-year-old son, J.T., in a learn-to-play hockey program in St. Louis. "I can't remember the gentleman's name, but he did tell me that he played in the Canadian Open back in 1962."

His George Steinbrenner tendencies aside, Williamson is one of the more likable guys on the Tour, a former left winger, who went by the nickname The Hammer at Trinity, and didn't begin to play golf seriously until his early 20s.

Despite a constant struggle to stay on the PGA Tour, the 40-year-old Williamson almost pulled off a huge victory in June when he finished second to yesterday's opening-round leader at the Canadian Open, Hunter Mahan, during the Travelers Championship, losing in a dramatic playoff.

While he makes a good living in golf, Williamson said his passion, outside of his family, is hockey.

"I go on hockeybuzz.com every day," he said. "I just love it."

Williamson said that he worries when his beloved Blues don't play well and the crowds are down, as they have been in the past couple of NHL seasons.

However, he is confident that general manager John Davidson and coach Andy Murray will turn things around, particularly with the recent off-season signing of star winger Paul Kariya.

"I think hockey is a game of the future, if the NHL just does the right thing, like make the ice bigger," he said.

"These guys are just so big now and they are playing on the same sized ice from decades ago."


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