Dee makes most of sponsor exemption
July 12, 2019
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
- Gerry Dee played in the Osprey Valley Open on a sponsor exemption. (Golf Canada)
CALENDON, Ont. – Gerry Dee ended his experience at the Osprey Valley Open in a much better way than he started – in fact, he did something Friday he had never done in his golfing career.
Dee, a Canadian comedian and actor who has played golf most of his life (including teeing it up as a youngster against Mike Weir) played this week at TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley on a sponsor exemption and made an eight on his first hole of the week.
He ended, however, by making back-to-back birdies on No’s 8 and 9 Friday – his final two holes of the day.
“I’ve never birdied my final two holes, ever. And I’ve played a lot of golf,” said Dee with a seemingly never-ending chuckle.
It was all part of a week for Dee where he got to see up close how talented members of the Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada are.
The 50-year-old Dee plays to a five handicap and is a member of The National Golf Club of Canada, long believed to be the country’s most difficult layout. He shot 84-79 to miss the cut this week, however, he said there were some great takeaways the last two days.
“You learn a lot on a golf course, which is why I think I’m so fascinated by the game mentally. There’s an embarrassment factor for me. I never wanted to embarrass myself and let my friends and enemies take a dig at me. I didn’t light it up and there are so many better golfers than me that are not on this Tour, but for me as a comedian and a dad and 50 years old, I’m proud of how I bounced back and how I shot today,” said Dee.
Dee played with fellow Canadians Russell Budd (68-69) and James Allenby (69-69) and said he learned a lot from the two of them. Allenby, who was in the final group on Sunday at the Canada Life Open earlier this year, said playing with a celebrity gave this week a bit of flavor.
“I was impressed with his game. He hits it pretty solid with his irons. There were a couple things where if he had time to work on things he’d do even better, like the feel with his putting, but breaking 80 on the second day… I was pretty happy for him,” said Allenby.
Dee said it was “a treat” to watch Allenby and Budd play up close the last two days. Dee admitted he didn’t want to get in their way while they played for their livelihood, but he did get a little help from the two pros and pick their brains about junior golf, since Dee (who is a father of three) has kids who are playing in their own golf tournaments these days.
“They were easy-going guys, phenomenal players. Both of them are in position to win this. I’m going to watch it assuming I didn’t make the cut,” said Dee, tongue firmly in cheek.
Dee, who has played with members of the PGA TOUR before, said it was obvious that members of the Mackenzie Tour are pretty close to that level, too. He alluded to Doc Redman – who is ninth on the Mackenzie Tour’s Order of Merit – finishing runner-up on the PGA TOUR three weeks ago in Detroit as an example of someone that was on the Mackenzie Tour but can still make noise at a higher level.
“I was saying to Russell, ‘you’re all capable of having that weekend.’ That’s the level it’s at. For people who are watching and thinking ‘20-under, oh it must be an easy course because it’s Mackenzie Tour,’ they’re just as good,” said Dee. “As you’ve seen with (Mackenzie Tour) alumni who have gone and dominated on the PGA TOUR… they get it going and they get it together.
“I saw shots – putts, flops, drives, and everything was just impressive. These guys are good, man.”
Dee said it was more of a mental grind this week than a physical one, joking that he hopes he didn’t actually make the cut because he was so drained.
“On the course I can’t check texts, I can’t check emails, I don’t know what time it is, I don’t know what the cut is… you’re just out there on an island, stressing. Every shot I was stressing. Every shot,” said Dee. “I’d be looking, at the fifth hole, and I was just counting how many holes I have left. It’s too draining. I was watching (Allenby and Budd) and at one point James was on the cutline, and I saw what a grind it is. I might have quit.”
When the final birdie putt of the day fell, Dee doffed his cap to the assembled crowed around the final hole of the day, shook hands with his playing competitors, and that was that.
For a career funnyman, he put on a serious performance this week.
He couldn’t help but get in one last laugh, though.
“It was a great time. I was so glad I did this. I wasn’t sure if I should, but I learned a lot about a lot of things. Now I’ll probably have a bath. That’s what you do at my age, have a bath,” said Dee. “How many guys out here are having baths?”