Brad Chudiak and Craig Delwisch, now less than a week away from the flight hurtling past the east coast of Canada to the old world, are in the final leg of their preparations for the Big Game in the cradle of golf — Scotland.
Having won the Western Canada International Pairs Tournament in Comox last October, the pair are now finally going on to play in the International World Final in Loch Lomond, Scotland.
As in any international tournament, the two will be wearing the maple leaf on their chest: an honour for the pair.
“The biggest thing for me is just to represent Canada,” Delwisch said.
Besides the honour of the leaf, and the chance to play in the glens and by the lochs where golf was born, the adventure of the trip – the new people, new accents and new land to explore – only adds to the trip.
“What’s exciting for me, as well as Brad probably, is the unknown. We’re going over there with a lot of preparation and some contacts and you never know where that’s going to lead and that’s kind of neat. You never know who you’re going to meet,” Delwisch said.
The only team from Canada this year, they will be meeting golfers from all over Europe and the world.
The tournament has 32 teams coming from to Scotland to challenge the difficult course. Some countries send two teams to the tournament, most years there is a Canada west and Canada east team, though this year the east isn’t sending a team, so of the 32 teams there are around 25 to 27 different countries represented said Delwisch.
Chudiak and Delwisch have talked to the previous team, which has helped them come up with a plan for their time in Scotland. Previously teams had only a single day to practice before their two competitive rounds. This year they’re going to squeeze in a couple more.
“We’re going to head to the golf course when we first get there to play a couple of practice rounds. The teams that played last year, they only played one practice round and they didn’t think it was good enough,” Chudiak said.
The formal practice for the teams is Oct. 1, with the tournament following on Oct. 2 — 3. Chudiak and Delwisch will, however, head over to Scotland, Sept. 21 for the extra rounds of golf, before heading out to see Scotland and loosen up a little.
“We’re going to go to the region where the tournament is, play a couple rounds then go to some of the sights, whether it’s St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Edinburgh, The Highlands, just to tour around,” Chudiak said.
“Because if we go there and focus on the tournament right from the beginning, you’re psychologically building yourself up too much. To play your last two rounds the best, after you’ve played 10 rounds of golf, is extremely difficult.”
To help them loosen up they’ll rent a car and see the sights. The previous team’s information helps here as well. The last pair that went rented a car, and got a manual, which, with everything opposite in Scotland, gave the drivers trouble. Chudiak and Delwisch will request an automatic so they have one less thing to worry about when they’re trying to remember which side of the road they should be on.
While they’re driving around, the pair hope to be more than just tourists.
“We have some contacts over there, relations of some mutual friends,” Delwisch said.
“We’re in contact with them via facebook and Brad has a couple phone numbers. We’re going to call them when we get over there and say ‘hey we’re here from Canada and we want to go for coffee’ and get to know the people and be part of the community a little bit instead of just showing up and doing tourist stuff.”
After the travel it’ll be back to working on their game on the course for a day, where they’ll practice with another team, before hitting the links for real in the competition.
Neither know the players they’ll be teeing off against yet, information which helped them in Comox, as there is no data available about which teams will be coming and who will be playing on each team.
With information from last year and a little knowledge of the country and weather around the course, the two are preparing as best they can.
The adverse weather conditions often seen in the Cariboo should prepare the pair for rainy Scotland.
“I personally believe the teams from the North, Ireland, Scotland, England, Norway, the northern parts of Europe, Canada, teams that have played in all kinds of weather, will have an advantage; the guys who don’t mind playing in wet and windy conditions as opposed to the guys who play in calm and sun all the time,” said Chudiak.
Taking a page from Sun Tzu in the Art of War (the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand) the pair are also planning on downloading a map of the course, complete with measurements, to help them get as familiar with the course as possible before they even step foot on turf.
With all these calculations, information from the Internet, a few games for scouting and some advice from the team that went last year, the team hopes to do well.
“We want to be right up at the top,” Delwisch said.
And he figures, through the research they have done and their past performances, they’re capable of running into the single digit placements.
“Traditionally in Scotland it’s around 40/41 points per day, so it’s around 80 points over the two days that do it. If you look at, if you get two points for a par, that’s 36 points for the course,” Chudiak said.
“That means you only need three birdies to get to 40. The team that played last year, they didn’t get a natural birdie because the course was difficult and they had very, very tough weather. Looking at 70-80 points, 40-41 points is doable. If we’re sitting at 36 or 38 points the first day, which means you parred every hole, and got a birdie or two then we’re in contention.”
Some information will not be as welcome, however. There will potentially be an electronic scoring device that players will put their score into, allowing everyone on the course to see where they sit in the field. Of course, that means they would open themselves up to perpetual stress as they watch their score fluctuate against other’s.
“The question is do you want to do that and create that extra pressure on yourself.
Probably it won’t be till the very end when we look at where we’re at,” Chudiak said.
The pair have not been able to come this far, nor go as far as they will, alone. The duo credits the community for its generosity. Although some of the expenses, hotel for the nights during the tournament as well as airfare there and back, have been paid for, other expenses, like rental cars, their uniform and sundry items to share with their international competitors, were not part of the package.
It was these expenses which the community helped.
“CMA has provided some assistance for us, along with British Airways. Dunkley Lumber, Phil Kuyzk, Raymond James, the City of Quesnel is going to give us some shirts and some trinkets, Quesnel Golf Course, Two Eagles Golf Course, TL Designs have provided some assistance, whether it’s merchandise or clothing or monetary assistance,” Chudiak said.
In the tournament they hope to represent the community, both Quesnel and B.C. at large, in the same friendly way it has reached out to them.
“We’ll probably play a practice round with the team and play two rounds, probably with two different teams. And we’re on there for five hours with the guys and we’re fairly open and friendly, we’re not there just to focus,” he said.
“We’re there to make friends,” Delawisch added.
They also hope to exchange shirts or caps with some of their international friends-to-be.
The pair will be gone from Sept. 21 – Oct 6, 12 days in Scotland with travel on either end. While they’re there they will be updating their facebook page: Craig and Brad’s Scottish Adventure.
Craig will document the trip, with updates daily or every other day. He’ll be taking pictures on and off the course, along with videos and small write-ups about where they are and who they’ve met.
To find the page log onto your facebook and search for Craig and Brad’s Scottish Adventure. You can like the page there and receive updates on your feed.