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Borrowed Clubs and a Coors Light Polo: Inside the Lost Clubs Crisis on the PGA Tour Canada

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Update, Tuesday at 8 am ET: Ott has received his missing clubs, but he still doesn’t have his other luggage. Other players have also gotten their sticks back, but many, including Meyer, remain clubless as of Tuesday morning.


Harrison Ott didn’t have his sticks. He didn’t even have a collared shirt.

The first-year pro from Vanderbilt was scheduled to compete in Monday’s qualifier for the PGA Tour of Canada’s Prince Edward Island Open, but he was also one of 50 players still waiting, as of Monday morning. late, at the airline to deliver his golf clubs and other luggage.

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Players who arrived in Prince Edward Island on one of at least three separate Air Canada flights in the last 24 hours reported that their golf clubs did not arrive. That included Ott’s connection from Toronto that landed, after numerous delays, around 2 a.m. Monday.

“There were about 30 players on my flight, and we all go to baggage claim, and the bags start going around and hardly anyone claims them,” Ott told GolfChannel.com. “Turns out they were backed up bags from previous flights where his bags didn’t arrive.

“Not a single golfer got his clubs.”

While some players, including Ott’s roommate Ollie Osborne, chose to withdraw from the qualifier, Ott decided to improvise. Despite sleeping less than three hours after waiting, in vain, with his bags until 3:30 am, Ott showed up Monday morning at Belvedere Golf Club in Charlottetown hoping to find some usable clubs. He had heard that the club was doing its best to improvise outfits for the players to wear.

Ott was initially given a rental set of cavity back irons and was considering ending the week (exactly 20 players ended up dropping out of the qualifier) ​​when a member dropped off a set of the same irons and wedges Ott uses, albeit with different shafts. and lie angles. He borrowed the main pro’s driver and a putter from another pro, bought two sleeves of balls and a glove, and thought he was ready to go. Not quite.

“I was wearing a T-shirt, sweatpants and tennis shoes so I asked if I needed a collared shirt to play and they said yes,” Ott said. “Then, the professional enters his office and comes out with two polo shirts for me to put on.”

One polo shirt was plain navy blue, but it was also long-sleeved. The other was a blue striped polo shirt with the Coors Light logo, though it had short sleeves. Ott left with the latter.

“I put it on, unbuttoned, over my sweatshirts,” Ott said, laughing. “I left not knowing what to expect. I texted my dad about 45 minutes before he was messing around with the rents, and right before we start, he texts me back with, ‘Really?’”

As Ott described it, 17 iron shots went to the left and one to the right on Monday. However, as one of 12 players who had to use borrowed clubs in qualifying, Ott shot 4-under for 68, highlighted by an eagle on his 12.the hole, and was able to win one of eight places on this week’s course at Dundarave Golf Club in Cardigan.

“How crazy,” said Ott, who didn’t like the idea of ​​using the same set for the actual tournament. In any case, he planned, as a last resort, to have some old clubs delivered overnight.

“Hopefully our clubs will come,” he added, “although I’m not so sure they will. It’s nothing anyone could have predicted, so it’s hard to get mad about it.”

While Ott played his qualifier, Osborne went to the airport to see if his clubs were on the late-morning flight. No luck, though Osborne was sent back to the hotel with a “care package”: a white T-shirt, toothbrush and toothpaste. Ott then received an email from Air Canada saying his sticks should arrive on a 6 p.m. flight. does not reach). There’s another flight after that, one with about 30 players, scheduled to arrive after midnight.

“If those guys on that flight don’t get their bags, that’s not going to be good,” said Dylan Meyer, who was on Ott’s flight from Toronto to Prince Edward Island and still doesn’t have his clubs.

“My backup plan is if my clubs don’t show up, I’ll go home. Yeah, you could get a rental set, but at the same time, I feel like I’m just wasting my time doing that. It would definitely suck, but I’m holding on to the hope that I got on one of the first flights and maybe I could get my bag.”

Ott added: “Anyone who doesn’t have priority on a Tuesday or Wednesday, or even someone who has a late-night flight, it’s going to be very difficult.” [for them to get their clubs].”

Taylor Funk remains stuck in Montreal having had two flights canceled and passed the 30-hour mark from his initial arrival time.

“This is beyond absurd at this point,” Funk said.

Scott Pritchard, CEO of PGA Tour Canada, said the tour is aware of the baggage issues and has spoken with many of the affected members, many of whom were traveling from last week’s Elk Ridge Open in Saskatoon, where heavy rain and soggy field conditions. forced officials to cancel the tournament with some players not even in their first round. Ott entered that event as a substitute and was tied for the lead when the tournament was cancelled.

Some other players, such as Ty Strafaci, who withdrew from Monday’s qualifier, also had a flight canceled after the tour opened earlier this month, preventing them from making it to the qualifier’s departure time. US Open final.

“It’s difficult because a lot of things that are happening are completely out of our control,” Pritchard said. “We could never have expected this. I know there have been some issues with airlines post-COVID, and labor shortages, and all the various reasons things are happening the way they are, but, for the most part, the players have been great. They are handling themselves like professionals at a frustrating time.”

For the players who competed last week, the PGA Tour issued a $200,000 check that was split evenly among the field, which works out to about $1,300 per player. Pritchard remained hopeful that this week’s crisis would be resolved without further interruption.

“Fortunately, it’s only Monday, so we have a little bit of time,” he said. “I know being away from your clubs as a professional golfer, these guys are nervous about it, but I hope things work out and time is on our side here.”

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