Even though coronavirus has postponed women’s golf at the moment, this has been a busy time for Canadian golf legend Lorie Kane of Charlottetown, Prince Island. The reason is that Kane, the four-time winner on the LPGA Tour and 2000 Bobbie Rosenfeld Award winner, is being inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2020. Here is my interview with Kane.
Q: When you hear that you were going to be a member of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2020, what was your reaction?
A: “I was surprised and extremely humbled. I owe a lot of credit and gratitude to those who put my nomination forward. It is amazing, and exciting I am sharing space with an outstanding class! The only downside is that we could not get together. I know that will come in the very near future. This is a really cool experience for me.”
Q: You have talked a lot about how Mark Messier inspired you. Messier was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2009. What is it like to now be in the same museum as one of your idols?
A: “Mark’s idea is ‘winning is an attitude,’ and I am sure that he got that quote from somebody as well. He said that when he went from Vancouver to the New York Rangers. I really liked how Mark carried himself, how he played the game on the ice and off the ice. I was fortunate to meet Mark. That was something I was nervous about doing because I thought he may not live up to my expectations. He surpassed mine for sure. In the golf community, I am now also sharing the stage with Sandra Post and Jocelyne Bourassa, two professionals who did a lot of great things for women’s golf. They gave me the opportunity to do what I do. I hope I am able to do for sport, what they have done for me.”
Q: You are now the fourth athlete from Prince Edward Island to be inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. The prior three are harness racing trainer Dan MacKinnon of Highfield, harness racing driver Joe O’Brien of Alberton, and sports journalist Elmer Ferguson of Charlottetown. What does it mean to you to be a native of Prince Edward Island?
A: “I am honoured to be joining them. If I had the opportunity to discuss with those three gentlemen, I think we would all agree that we are not where we are without the support of this province. Prince Edward Island is the smallest province in the country, but we have some strength here that is undying. I accept this honour on behalf of 150,000 Islanders that have supported me through the good, the bad, and the ugly of what I have been trying to do. It is a true honour.”
Q: Looking back at your time on the LPGA Tour, what would you consider as your most memorable moment?
A: “That is a really good question. Winning my first tournament (the 2000 Michelob Light Classic in St. Louis) caps off all of the hard work that took place prior to even winning. I kind of erased the doubts that I had in myself. I learned about Lorie. I learned I can overcome and persevere. Without family and friends’ support, it would be a lonely road to do this all on my own, and I never felt once I was by myself. The first win stands out.”
Q: You have now had the opportunity to play in a record 29 Canadian Women’s Open events. Is there one particular Canadian Women’s Open you remember the most?
A: “The 2000 du Maurier Classic at the Royal Ottawa Golf Club (in Gatineau, Quebec) was the closest I came to winning (tie for fifth). I would love to have the tee shot on the 14th hole in the final round over again. If I could have got that ball in the fairway, it would have been a different finish.”
Q: You also played a key role in helping save the Canadian Women’s Open when it struggled at times due to a lack of sponsorship. How meaningful was it for you that Bank of Montreal, and then the Canadian National Railway, and Canadian Pacific were able to step up?
A: “We also need to give credit to Golf Canada for having the courage to be committed at a time when I am not sure they know what they had, and how it really fit their model. Things totally changed when we met a man by the name of Hunter Harrison (CEO of the Canadian National Railway and then the Canadian Pacific Railway, who died in 2017). The railway is what has kept Canada together. I am a very fortunate athlete to have had a partnership with both companies because of Mr. Harrison, and now Keith Creel (the current CPR CEO), who has as strong a passion for golf and community, as I do. The railroad changed the face of women’s golf in Canada. There are a lot of great parallels. Brooke Henderson and I are ambassadors for Canadian Pacific. I am thrilled about what we do with the CP Has Heart Program (contributed to CP raising $20.5 million to heart health programs in Canada). CP is a great corporate community company that has contributed to the success of women’s golf.”
Q: How impressed have you been with Brooke Henderson in recent years?
A: “If Brooke was talking to us today, I think she would talk about the importance of having a strong support team around you. I bet there is not a better feeling for Brooke than to stand next to her sister Brittany to ask for advice. I had a great connection with Danny Sharp, who caddied for me in my whole career. Danny is a good player, like Brittany is. It definitely takes the pressure off players to have a conversation with your caddie. What Brooke is doing, and how she is handling herself is super cool. She already has nine wins on the LPGA Tour, and I am sure there are nine more wins around the corner as soon as we get playing.”
Q: What were some of the challenges you have faced with the coronavirus shutdown?
A: “First of all, getting the news that I would be inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame gave me some time to spend in the past, which I normally do not do. Coronavirus put all Canadians, and all Canadian athletes in a place where we have to sit back and take a deep breath, and see what we can do with the time that we have. I used it to my benefit. I really worked hard on my physical fitness, spent time reading, and having a plan for each day. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I don’t know what day it is. As athletes, we always have a plan and that schedule. Probably the most challenging plan is what a schedule looks like. The challenge has been to keep yourself in the present, and controlling what you can control.”
Q: In recent years, you have played on the Legends Tour. Not many people might know you have five Legends Tour victories. I was shocked to find out that the tour has been around now since 2001. What is your opinion what needs to happen for the Tour to generate more overall interest?
A: “I think we need to step up and (increase the) overall interest of women’s sport across the board. I think we need to support all of us (female athletes). When I started my career in professional golf in 1996, women were pushing hard to keep developing the LPGA Tour. Now, I find myself back in the same position to move senior women’s golf forward. There is a place for us. I am of the opinion that senior men’s and women’s golf would benefit from a lot of joined ventures, shall we say. I am hoping that can be in our future here in Canada. There is a lot of talent on the Senior LPGA Tour. I am glad that I am part of trying to help build that. There is a place for us. We just have to be a little patient. Coronavirus has put us in the position that we have to take a bit of a breather. We may have taken a step back, but that does not mean we cannot take several steps forward.”
Q: In the last three weeks we have seen some great Canadian performances on the PGA Tour from Adam Hadwin, Mackenzie Hughes, and Corey Conners. Earlier this year we saw Nick Taylor win at Pebble Beach. Maybe just talk about the depth of Canadian golf at the moment on the PGA Tour.
A: “I think the depth of Canadian golf at the moment is really strong. I am pretty proud of the boys on the PGA Tour and where they have been, and how they are handling themselves. Nick’s win earlier in the season was awesome. To your point, Mac, Corey, and Adam are plugging along. They are there each week. Mike Weir is back in the saddle and ready to go. I think it is really great. I am pretty excited. Every week, we seem to get Canadian flags higher and higher on the leaderboard, and that is what we play for.”
“One of the coolest things is that with golf leading the way, we can live with this virus. Steps can be taken, and following proper protocols are important. The LPGA Tour is learning from the PGA Tour and is ready to go. The PGA Tour is definitely setting a positive example regarding how life can continue during this rocky time. Golf has become a COVID-friendly sport. We all know as golfers, you need to stand far enough from your playing partner, so you do not get hit. It is easy for us.”
Q: Tell me a little bit about your charitable endeavours.
A: “My charitable endeavours started when the KidSport Foundation first started in the province. I took it upon myself to be the honorary spokesperson for KidSport Prince Edward Island. I know KidSport was started in the west, and Jarome Iginla was part of the program in Calgary. I thought if it is good enough for Jarome Iginla, it has got to be good enough for me. I am a product of sport, and if I did not have sport in my life, I may not be where I am. What I love about KidSport, is that every dollar donated goes directly to a child. Administration costs are carried by our great partners, such as Bell Canada, and Bell Aliant, which is the Atlantic part.”
“With the assistance from McDonald’s, we started the Lorie Kane Charity Classic with the benefactor being the McDonald’s Children Charities in Atlantic Canada. Our franchisees and the McKenna family were a big part of getting the tournament started. Then my relationship ended, and then we were able to branch off and help out many charities in Charlottetown for 11 years. Then the railway came into my life, and as a result of that, I became active with the CP Has Heart Program. There is no better charity! Through the week of the Canadian Open, there is a charity match. If you donate $20, CP will match that, with the money going to pediatric heart care. On a corporate level, the CP Has Heart program has invested millions of dollars to heart health across Canada. I have a current vision of healthy hearts across our country.”
Q: What are your future goals in golf as a player and as a builder?
A: “As a player, I want to keep doing what I do. I love the game. I am going to play when I can on the LPGA Tour. It won’t be a whole lot. Obviously this year, we have kind of had to put a freeze on some things. Where I am currently in Prince Edward Island, I do not see myself traveling too far. I am working with the Mill River Golf Course on the west end of our island. I will be working with some junior programs, and golf programs in general. My ultimate goal is to continue to play on the Legends Tour and would love to hoist the U.S. Senior Women’s Open trophy at some point. I will just keep on moving forward and promote this great game.”