Fred Couples grants special wish in Canada

Marty Henwood
July 04, 2010
Marty Henwood

BLAINVILLE, Quebec -- For the rest of his life, no matter how many precious hours, days, weeks that may be, Richard Farley lived long enough to realize his final wish, his own personal finish line crossed.

You see, reality cannot be sugarcoated. Richard Farley is dying, the lung cancer ravaging his body just too much of a final battle. The former longtime owner of Montreal's Metropolitan Golf Club and a pillar in the city's golf community knows he is running out of time. When left with no choice, some things you just accept.

On Thursday at the Montreal Championship presented by Desjardins, the 67-year-old stood in the parking lot of Club de golf Le Fontainebleau, moments before he was to meet his favorite golfer, Fred Couples. The emotion was too much for Farley. In that parking lot, under a glorious sky, Farley's body shook uncontrollably and tears streamed down his withered face as he clung to close friend Carlo Blanchard. It was Blanchard, a respected teaching professional in Quebec who once taught at the Metropolitan course, who Farley called with that final wish request.

Fred Couples is indeed be a hero to Farley, and that feeling is probably mutual. Courage and will can make even the most common man heroic.

"He called me four or five weeks ago and told me he didn't know how long he had to live," said Blanchard. "He said he had one last wish, to meet Freddie. I know Freddie and (Tournament Director) David Skitt, so I knew we could make something happen. We didn't have to ask Fred twice."

"This man is so happy, he was shaking and crying this morning. I've got goosebumps after seeing that."

Blanchard was certainly not alone. Seconds after Couples emerged from the Montreal Championship Media Centre, he walked up to Farley and the two the shared a warm embrace. As cameras clicked and spectators wiped away tears, the two shared words that are between them alone.

Farley cried again.

You see, Farley had reached his finish line. Not in the literal sense, mind you, but all he wanted over this past month was to fight the good fight long enough to make it to Fontainebleau.

"I just wanted to see this day," says Farley, his wispy voice cracking with emotion. "I phoned Carlo and told him I was dying and wasn't going to be around much longer. I wanted to meet Fred Couples, but I just didn't know if I would make it this long. I fought and fought for another day, and here I am today. If I don't make it past tomorrow, I've seen my dream."

The dream wasn't quite over. Minutes later as Couples stepped to the tee to take part in the pro-am with Montreal Canadiens' legend Yvan Cournoyer and current star Mike Cammalleri, Couples and Skitt sent another emotional charge through the crowd.

As thousands looked on, Richard Farley was introduced. As he slowly made his way towards Couples yet again, those tears returned.

Couples led the thousands in an emotional, lengthy ovation. The man that is having a tough time walking these days need not have worried. The crowds gave him a lift.

For a few unforgettable moments, it was Farley's stage.

And with Couples, his hero, just a few feet away, a chance for one final bow.