Like many of the hockey players he follows during the NHL season, Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy enjoys getting out and playing lots of golf in the summer. Murphy is a member at Marine Drive Golf Club, where his club-mates include Sportsnet’s Canucks’ play-by-play announcer John Shorthouse and TSN analyst Ray Ferraro. Murphy talked about his game this week with The Sun’s Brad Ziemer.
Q: Have you taken advantage of the Canucks’ longer off-season to play more golf this year?
A: Well, you have to realize the last two off-seasons were only about seven or eight days shorter. But I have played 13 rounds this year at Marine Drive and a couple at Whistler. I haven’t played as much as I’d like, but I am going to play more from now until when the season starts.
Q: I know you had another hole-in-one earlier this year and now have five. Tell us about it. Where and when?
A: I have had five but one of them was on a par 3 course. My last one was during the Olympic break. I went down to Palm Springs to visit my parents and in-laws. My father-in-law is a member at Rancho La Quinta and we decided to go out and play nine holes. It was a 155-yard par 3 and it was one of those hole-in-ones that went straight into the cup. It went up in the air and just disappeared. I said I believe that’s in and the people behind us said I think it is, too. We went up there and there was hardly any damage around the cup. It went straight down. You could hear the bang on the flag.
Q: I know you are taking some golf lessons. How is that going?
A: It’s going better. I can see improvement and I know what I need to work on. One of the most humiliating things is seeing your swing on video. My main goal is just to hit the ball better than John Shorthouse. I could usually score better than him before, but to have him hitting the ball better than me has been tough.
Q: Who are the best Canucks, past or present, when it comes to golf?
A: Before he gave up golf to take up cycling, Trevor Linden was a pretty good player. I remember playing with him a few years ago at Marine and he was two- or three-under standing on the 13th tee when Shorthouse asked him what his best round was. Trevor then proceeded to go four-over the last six holes. I never played with him, but I know David Booth is a good player. Kevin Bieksa is probably the best of the current Canucks.
Q: Have you recovered from losing to (Sun sports columnist) Iain MacIntyre at the recent Golf BC Media Cup competition at Nicklaus North?
A: Losing is one thing, but losing to a guy wearing Man-pris (capri pants) is a whole different thing. The fact I had him and finished double-double to shoot 80 and lose the last two holes was tough. I like to think of it as a more of a confidence-booster for Iain. I should note, however, that while he won the match, I won the gross competition.
Q: OK, we are having this conversation on Wednesday and this won’t run until Saturday, so you are either going to look brilliant or not very smart at all. Who is your pick to win the British Open?
A: I think it is too simple to go with Justin Rose. I’ll go with Adam Scott. I think they say tee to green is where you really make your hay on this course and that’s where he is the best player in the world right now, I also don’t mind Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy.
Q: Got an all-time favourite course?
A: Most memorable course I have played would be Old Head on the southern tip of Ireland. It was a beautiful sunny day and they call it Pebble Beach on steroids. But I think one of Royal County Down or Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland would be my favourite course.
Q: What courses would be on your golf bucket list?
A: Well, of course I’d like to play Augusta National but that likely won’t happen. And I should play Pebble Beach. But I think if there’s one I’d really like to make happen, it would be Bethpage Black. I think the whole experience of showing up and trying to get a tee time and maybe playing it from the tips and shooting a million would be fun.
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