Ian Cruickshank, on assignment for the Toronto Star — yes, the Toronto Star in Toronto — decides to whack a few balls in Newfoundland. Lo and behold, he has the distinct pleasure of meeting the Ball-Whacker in Chief:
My friend Sandy pointed to a handsome home overlooking the water and said it belonged to Danny Williams, Newfoundland's premier.Of course, a CFA like Cruickshank could be forgiven for overlooking the important fact that the folk hero, politician, and golf enthusiast has, of course, put any assets such as his ownership stake in golf courses into blind trust. Just like his similarly business-minded health minister, Paul Oram, he is far, far, far removed from the drudgery of managing any properties which might, thanks to his former career as super awesome businessman, stand in his name.
Williams is as much folk hero as politician, famous for taking on Ottawa and the oil companies. About 10 seconds after seeing the house, we actually passed Williams, who was out for a post-dinner stroll.
Sandy insisted I meet the premier and pulled a U-turn. Turns out Williams actually owns two courses: The Willows, a nine-hole gem that curls through the local valley and forest, and Glendenning, where his daughter is a teaching pro.
But Danny Williams-Government's enthusiasm for ruining a perfectly good stroll by whacking balls is undiminished. Whether it be personally greeting visiting out-of-province journalist-golfers, or exhorting the locals to take up the sport — seriously, did you not hear Us the first time? — to direct financial support to the golfing sector (on a go-forward basis), his love of the sport remains.