Beat by the heat at the Cana­dian Open?

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - TERI PECOSKIE

OAKVILLE — The Cana­dian Open is heat­ing up, and it has noth­ing to do with the com­pe­ti­tion.

On Fri­day, tem­per­a­tures at Oakville’s Glen Abbey Golf Club shot up to 35 C. The spike left ev­ery­one from spec­ta­tors to vol­un­teers look­ing for cre­ative ways to keep cool. Take Gord Hunter. The 70-year-old trav­elled to the tour­na­ment from his home in Ot­tawa to help out as a stan­dard bearer. He’ll walk the course three times this week­end, hold­ing the tall white sign that dis­plays their scores.

“What you might know is th­ese things ac­tu­ally act as a sun­shade,” he says point­ing to the plas­tic board. “At noon, not so good. But by 4 p.m., you can get some de­cent shade.”

That’s not to say to Hunter minds the heat. He says he re­mem­bers an Open seven or eight years ago when it rained tor­ren­tially the en­tire week — “that was re­ally mur­der.”

He turns to walk out of the vol­un­teer tent and Robert Ogilvie steps in. He’s red. Sweaty.

Ogilvie’s group teed off at 7 a.m., which means he’s been out on the course for the past five hours. He spent much of that time chas­ing shade.

“You’re just go­ing from tree to tree to tree,” says the Kin­car­dine res­i­dent, 55. “I don’t envy the guys go­ing out now.” Ogilvie isn’t the only one suf­fer­ing. The heat and wind, which was gust­ing in from the north­west Fri­day, are wreak­ing havoc on an al­ready parched course and mak­ing con­di­tions tough for golfers. Course staff — who have had to use city wa­ter since

the Abbey’s reser­voir went dry last month — are sprin­kling the green by hand be­tween groups in a bid to keep the del­i­cate turf alive.

It’s un­usual, says Ste­wart Wil­liams — espe­cially for this part of the world. Over the past 20 years he’s been to the Open maybe a dozen times, and this is one of the hottest.

Wil­liams is one of a hand­ful of me­te­o­rol­o­gists who work the PGA Tour. He blames the con­di­tions on a “mas­sive” high pres­sure dome over the cen­tral United States which is also in­vad­ing south­ern On­tario.

Wil­liams ex­pects the heat to let up slightly over the week­end. How­ever, with En­vi­ron­ment Canada call­ing for highs in the 31 C to 33 C range it’s still go­ing to be a scorcher.

If you’re plan­ning on head­ing to the Abbey, take ad­van­tage of the shade, wear light-coloured clothes and “don’t overdo,” Wil­liams says. And, per­haps most im­por­tantly, drink lots of wa­ter.

Zach Martin, a para­medic from Kitch­ener, has sim­i­lar ad­vice. He says a few peo­ple have needed med­i­cal as­sis­tance al­ready this week, and ev­ery case has been re­lated to the heat.

“Peo­ple don’t drink enough wa­ter or they wear the wrong cloth­ing,” he says.

Nearby, spec­ta­tors are tak­ing shel­ter un­der sun hats, um­brel­las and a clus­ter of trees — any­thing, re­ally, that casts a shadow. Lori and Devon Har­vey are an ex­cep­tion.

In the blaz­ing sun along­side the ninth fair­way, the mom and son are walk­ing with tall cans of Mol­son Cana­dian — their first of the day. They spent the morn­ing fol­low­ing Dustin John­son and, Fri­day af­ter­noon, planned to walk an­other 18 holes with Ja­son Day.

“It’s smok­ing hot,” ad­mits Devon, 23. But the breeze helps. And the wa­ter. And the beer. There is only one prob­lem: “By the time you get to the bot­tom of the can, it’s warm.”

BERNARD BRAULT, GOLF CANADA,

How hot was it? Glen Abbey Golf Club staff were wa­ter­ing the greens be­tween groups of play­ers to keep the close-cropped grass alive.

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