Meeting Dan Halldorson

Dan Halldorson Canadian Star Lost to Stroke

I heard a new name today, the name of a professional golfer with which I was not familiar,. Dan Halldorson was, by all accounts, certainly familiar to golf fans all over Canada. Apparently, he had friends everywhere who loved and appreciated him deeply on a personal and competitive level.

DanHalldorson Halldorson has been, for several decades, one of the most celebrated players to come out of Canada, and in addition to winning many of the important tournaments in that country, went to the PGA Tour, where he did well. In his 480 plus tour events, he won the 1980 Pensacola Open, the 1986 Deposit Guaranty Golf Classic Championship, and the 1992 Greater Milwaukee Open.  Outside of that, he finished in the top ten 28 times in a perennially lethal field of talent, was a World Cup Champion with teammate Dave Barr, and a winner of the PGA of Canada Championship.

In all of the accounts I have read of this player, one I should have run across many times through the years, these accomplishments are mentioned, although as preparatory remarks to greater tributes. Much is said of the wonderful work Halldorson did for the Canadian game, for its tour, and for its youth programs. Still, I was struck that in virtually every case, homage pouring in from every direction in the golf world peaked by describing him as a man, a gentle man…a gentleman.

Halldorson, a luminary in the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame, was felled by a massive stroke this week, and his ashes will be laid to rest, says his wife, in the ideal spot – the course of St. Andrews, where it all began for modern western golf. Richard Zokel, friend and frequent playing partner, was devastated by the news, and had it confirmed through a communication between Bar and the Halldorson family.He was, Zokel says, a rare combination of a soft-spoken man of few words, one who made his few words count for something, and in possession of a wry sense of humor that might appear at any time, causing him and his friends to walk away from their shots and circle around for another try. The discipline of his game, according to one noted sports writer, was extraordinary. Using a phrase from my own experience, he might be described as a “brief case” golfer. Every shot seemed to go the same way, and  generally the way he wanted it. That’s hard to say in the game of golf. From the beginning of a long career, Halldorson represented Accuform Golf, which was founded around the beginning of his professional play. Halldorson, it seems, never went with anyone else, and never needed to.

It has stuck with me through the day that when it came time to say goodbye to such a notable golf professional, the game of golf was not the central theme of the remarks. And yet, it reminded me of how ingratiating and welcoming the game can be. It undoubtedly had a large hand in fashioning the texture of Halldorson’s life, It made him successful, and he in return, through the person he was, did his part to keep the game virtuous and honorable. The world will seldom remember which putt you missed, unless of course it was in a cliffhanger for a green jacket, etc. They might remember, however, how you were when you missed it, how you responded to the people around you, who you loved, and how unshakable and loyal you were in that endeavor.

I am sorry that I never investigated the life and career of Dan Halldorson, and considering what is said of him in farewell, it appears to be my loss.

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