Imagine what it would feel like to be a Nova Scotian walking up to the 18th green on the final Sunday of the Canadian Open. Well, Gordie Smith knows what it is like.
Smith was introduced to the game of golf by his father and virtually grew up around the golf course. After attending the University of South Florida on a golf scholarship, he turned professional in the fall of 1986 and played on the American Tour which consisted of the top 200 players not on the PGA Tour. The following summer he played on the Canadian Tour and won his first tournament, the Labatt’s Light Ontario Open. “It was the very first event on the schedule and I had to qualify for it. It was quite amazing to win that trophy and the $10,000 prize. All of a sudden I had cash in my pocket and an exemption to the Canadian Open.”
At the age of 25 Smith was playing in his first Canadian Open, the second oldest stop on the PGA Tour with golf’s top players. “It was an amazing experience. Who would have thought a kid growing up in Dartmouth, N.S. would play in the Canadian Open, let alone make the cut.” While Smith admittedly didn’t play well on the final Sunday, ending his last round at the 1988 Canadian Open is the most memorable moment in his golf career. “Coming up the 18th hole with my parents, who walked every hole with me, then putting out for a 67 and seventh place and 30,000 people chanting “Gordo, Gordo’, was pretty overwhelming.”