Roxburgh represents what is good about golf

Posted on 1st August, 2014 Source: Brad Ziemer, Guest Contributor

Brad Ziemer"Get a Grip" Article by Guest Contributor Brad Ziemer, as featured in the August 2014 edition of the GolfBC eNews. Brad Ziemer covers the B.C. golf scene for the Vancouver Sun. He received Golf Canada’s Distinguished Service Award in 2013 and was also named the PGA of British Columbia’s Patron of the Year in 2013...

Reflections on a summer of golf that is already half over. Is it really August already?

One of the things I like best about playing and writing about golf is the people I meet along the way. The game just seems to attract good people and I’ve met none better than Doug Roxburgh. Roxburgh, of course, is something of a B.C. golfing legend and I have had the good fortune to get to know him quite well over the years. At last month’s B.C. Amateur Championship at Seymour Golf & Country Club in North Vancouver, Roxburgh made the cut for the 47th time in what was his 48th straight appearance at the tournament he has won a record 13 times. It’s a remarkable record and one that Roxburgh is quite proud of. Doug RoxburghAt age 62, Roxburgh’s swing is still silky smooth. If you want a lesson on tempo, just watch him swing the club. As Canadian Mid Amateur champion Kevin Carrigan of Victoria told me during the tournament, Roxburgh’s swing never changes whether he is hitting a sand wedge or driver.

Roxburgh’s contributions to the game extend well beyond his own playing record, which includes four Canadian Amateur titles and a spot in the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame. He spent several years working as Golf Canada’s director of player development before recently retiring and has been a terrific mentor for some of this country’s top young players. Roxburgh followed up his B.C. Amateur appearance with a win the following week at the B.C. Senior Championship at Christina Lake Golf Club. That was his second straight senior title and later this month he will play in the Canadian Senior Championship at Capilano Golf & Country Club in West Vancouver. As a journalist, I am supposed to be impartial, but I hope he wins that one, too.

On the professional side of the game, it’s been fun watching the progress of Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford and Merritt’s Roger Sloan, who are both heading to the PGA Tour. We have seen this coming for Hadwin, who won his first Tour event earlier this year in Chile. He has seem destined for golf’s big league since putting on that marvelous display during the 2011 RBC Canadian Open at Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club, where he finished tied for fourth place. Sloan has flown a little bit under the radar. He needed a clutch performance at last fall’s qualifying school to retain his Tour privileges for this year and broke through in a big way last month when he won the tour’s Nova Scotia Open. Both he and Hadwin are comfortably inside the top 25 on the money list and are assured of getting their 2015 PGA Tour cards no matter how they play in the upcoming Tour playoffs.

That’s good for B.C. golf. This province hasn’t had two regulars on the PGA Tour since the days of Dave Barr and Richard Zokol.

There’s still a chance there could be a third British Columbian on the PGA Tour next year. Abbotsford’s Nick Taylor is fighting for a spot in the four-event Tour playoffs that begin late this month. He needs to be inside the top 75 on the money list to qualify for those four $1-million events and earn his chance to join Hadwin and Sloan on the PGA Tour.

It was great watching Victoria’s Rick Gibson finish tied for third at the recent Senior British Open at Royal Porthcawl in Wales. Twenty years ago, Gibson, Dave Barr and Abbotsford’s Ray Stewart shocked the golf world with their win at the Dunhill Cup at St. Andrews in Scotland. Gibson is not as well known as some B.C. pros because he spent most of his career playing on the Japanese and Asian tours. Along the way he fell in love with a prominent actress from the Philippines and has been based in Manila. It was neat to see Gibson use the 14-year-old son of the Royal Porthcawl head pro as his caddie at the Senior Open.

GolfBC Media Cup Winners 2014We’ll save the really big B.C. golf news for the end of this column. It is with great pride that I disclose that GolfBC’s prestigious Media Cup is back where it belongs. Two days of intense competition last month at Furry Creek and Nicklaus North that produced many more laughs than birdies resulted in the team of distinguished journalists defeating a squad of broadcasters. Guess which team I was on?

That’s it for now. I’m heading out to the course before any more of this summer ticks by.

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