The Yellowknife chapter of the Mediocre Golf Association (MGA) is done with the business of golf in town for 2021, but there’s still business to be done elsewhere.
A group of eight players from the city will be making their way to Las Vegas in a couple of weeks for the MGA World Championship on Nov. 5 and 6. It’s the first time since 2019 that Yellowknife will be represented, which is also the last time the tournament was held — the 2020 edition was one of myriad events that fell victim to the pandemic.
Shaun Morris, the local chapter’s president, will be one of those eight. He said just being able to go somewhere and do something is a big thing, never mind the golf.
“It’s a great tournament with great people playing in it and organizing it,” he said. “Getting to go is the exciting part of it.”
The event is split into two tournaments: the main event itself where those players around North America who won a tournament this season and anyone finishing inside the top 10 on a chapter’s money list will play for the championship belt and a secondary tournament called the Born Hairy Tour, a play on the Korn Ferry Tour, the circuit just below the PGA Tour.
Morris, along with Hughie Graham, Ryan Sheppard, Bob Ross and Kevin Hewitt will be in the main event while Justin Bailey, Winter Bailey and Jenni Bruce are expected to contest the Born Hairy tournament.
Morris said there were around 340 people who had signed up as of Wednesday with an estimated 288 competing in the main event.
No one from Yellowknife has won either tournament, though Morris did win one of the solo honours in 2019, that being the Spirit Animal Award. That goes to the player who best embodies the ideals of the MGA.
“I celebrated by running topless in front of a lot of people,” said Morris.
Both tournaments will be 36-hole affairs with 18 holes per day, and just like any golf tournament, whoever shoots the lowest score will win. There are, however, penalty strokes that are added to a player’s final score based on their rating upon arrival.
Morris said that makes all the difference.
“Anyone can go out and have a good day but if you shoot an 80, that could go up depending on how many penalty strokes you have,” he said. “Shooting low-80s over both days means you’re doing good.”
The only problem is day two is usually worse than day one for a lot of players, he added.
“There’s an obvious reason for that but let’s just say your first round will almost always be better than your second round,” he said.
There is another trophy up for grabs known as the Chapters Cup. It’s given to the chapter that has the lowest combined score among the best three players. Because Yellowknife has at least three participants going, they will be eligible.
“That would be nice to win, even a top-10 finish would be great,” said Morris.
Naturally, there will be regulations surrounding Covid-19 but since most of the itinerary is based outdoors in Las Vegas, masks will be optional. The only place where masks are mandatory is anything indoors, which means anyone riding the buses to and from the course will need to wear one. Anyone who goes must also provide a negative test before returning home.
“Anyone who’s going needs to provide proof of a negative test before arriving and everyone needs to be fully vaccinated,” said Morris. “We don’t have to wear masks outside on the course and the awards ceremony is outdoors as well so we’ll be good there.”