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Donating blood and talking golf

I have been a Canadian Blood Service donor for several years because by doing it I could be potentially saving someone’s life. The people who work at the donor centers are always kind and grateful, which makes me want to do it again, but I had an interesting thing happen to me in my latest visit when I suddenly found myself talking about golf and my blog with someone I met for the first time.

As part of the protocol at the donor centers, there is a person whose job it is to prick one or your fingers to determine your iron level and also verify personal information. The person who does this is a phlebotomist, which I discovered is a fancy name for a lab tech, at least that’s the way Debbie Seymour described her job. She has been doing it for 18 years.

Debbie and I started talking about the weather. On this day it was rather pleasant, which I remarked should make golfers happy with courses scheduled to open soon. Debbie, who had already displayed a rather pleasant demeanour, lit up like a neon Christmas tree talking about golf. She said she began at age 16 and had “been totally into it for 15 years.” She later married, moved to Oregon and had kids and took a break from golf. Once her kids grew up, she started playing again. She had only played one round in 2022 because she had been extremely busy with health care due to COVID.

She also told me about her daughter Camilla’s boyfriend, Taylor Elsley, who is an Assistant Professional at a golf and country club just west of Toronto. Taylor, a promising golfer, had been battling Lyme Disease for eight years, though it took that long for doctors to properly diagnose it in 2016. His brother went public with Taylor’s situation a year later to raise awareness about it and help raise funds for treatment in Germany. Taylor has been healthy for several years now.

Debbie said she loves golfing because you are in competition with yourself.

“You don’t have to worry about anybody else. You do it for yourself,” she said.

We talked about the Masters, which she watched religiously each year and was scheduled to be played later in the week.

“The Masters is so special,” Debbie said. “It’s everything. It’s the Masters for a reason and it’s a hell of a course. The course is second to none. It’s awesome. It’s like watching St. Andrews. I love the British Open. I even like Match Play.”

She mentioned LIV Golf and how she wasn’t disappointed the players who defected from the PGA Tour would be allowed to play in the Masters, similar to last year, because previous winners of majors were not precluding from participating in them again.

“Last year was just a total chaos, and with everything Rory McIlroy (TaylorMade TP5X) went through (verbally battling with LIV CEO/Commissioner Greg Norman),” Debbie said. “Just the way the whole thing was done was not right. I think it could have been done better by the PGA and LIV and it wasn’t. It really put a damper on a lot of stuff, on the other hand it didn’t because the sport survived and I think Rory had a lot to do with that. I think it’s good to have competition with something else, but I don’t understand LIV other than the money is outrageous. At the same time it’s not bad to have both, provided they are going to help each other and not go against each other and screw one for the other and all that nonsense. Keep it on a professional level the way that the PGA has always been and I hope it stays that way.”

FINALLY IT’S FINAU: As part of the season-long PG Golf Pool, I picked Tony Finau (Titleist Pro V1) as one of my two choices for last week’s Mexico Open at Vidanta. Masters champion Jon Rahm (Callaway Chrome Soft X) was the overwhelming favorite, but I didn’t like his chances because were it not for the fact he was the defending champion I doubt he would have even been in the tournament. I picked him to win it last year because the field was weak, and I think winning it contributed to turning around his season. He came into the Mexico Open looking for his fifth win since the start of 2023.

I liked Finau because I felt he had done well this season and that would be the difference for him to win. When Rahm shot a 10-under 61 on Saturday, I figured he would tail off on Sunday because there was absolutely no way he could duplicate it. He didn’t but played decently the next day shooting four-under par and finished second by three strokes to Finau, who shot five-under par. Rahm surpassed the PGA season-long earnings record of $14,046,910 set by Scottie Scheffler (Titleist Pro V1) last year.

One other thought, I need to find a way to get to the resort at Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta. It looks like paradise. So I hope Iván Chávez, Executive Vice President of Grupo Vidanta, or his head of hospitality is reading this. I’d love to write about my experience at the resort for my blog.

Perry Lefko
Perry Lefko
Perry Lefko is an award-winning writer who has published nine books, three of them bestsellers. He has been involved in sports writing for more than 35 years and has interviewed many superstar athletes. He lives in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada and enjoys watching golf and playing it.

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