OAKVILLE -- A group of Canadian golf hall of famers were asked about their greatest moments at the Open yesterday and Dan Halldorson of Brandon, Man., remembers when he got to tee off with Jack Nicklaus at the 1986 Memorial Tournament on Nicklaus' home course, Muirfield Village, going into the third round.
"We were tied for the lead going into the third round, it's his course, his home town, his tournament, his everything. So I'm a little nervous," Halldorson said. "We get on the first tee, and he said 'Danny, I hope my gallery doesn't bother you today.' There were probably 20,000 people on the first hole alone."
Halldorson found himself matched up with Nicklaus again that summer at the Canadian Open at Glen Abbey heading into the third.
"(On the first tee), I said, 'Jack, I hope my gallery isn't going to bother you today," Halldorson said, with a laugh. "I couldn't resist."
Hall of Famer Wilf Homenuik of Kamsack, Sask., a winner of numerous professional tournaments, said that one of the problems with a Canadians unable to win their national open since Pat Fletcher in 1954 is because of the pressure and the fact that the Canucks try to hard when they come home.
"You got to be mentally tough," Homenuik said. "It's like the Toronto Maple Leafs. They haven't won the Stanley Cup in (more than) 40 years, but if they played old-time hockey, and enjoyed it and had fun, they could do a lot better. But they ain't going to do it, because they're all uptight."
Dave Barr of Kelowna, B.C., a winner of two PGA Tour events, agreed that the pressure of playing at home is often too much. Barr's best finish at the Open was a fourth-place tie at Glen Abbey in 1988. Barr said that until Mike Weir's success, Canadians basically got ignored all year and then get "pummeled with questions" when they arrive at the Canadian Open. And the questions are almost all the same.