Volume 92, Issue 11

Monday, September 22, 1998

temper temper


SPORTS
 

Mixing business with pleasure


Tom Baumgartner/Gazette



DO YOU BELIEVE THEY PUT A MAN ON THE MOON? Western MBA student Darren Johnston hit a few moon shots in his first appearance on the Canadian Tour over the weekend.


By Ian Ross
Gazette Staff

Darren Johnston has stood witness to every aspect golf has to offer.

The Western masters of business administration student was a former assistant pro at the Ingersol Golf and Country Club. He was also a caddy for PGA professionals at the age of 14. Now 28 years old, Johnston was also a tour administrator for the Canadian Tour.

Impressive credentials - but what about competitive experience? The chance came this weekend when Johnston took some powerful swings at the Bayer Championships in Sarnia - the last leg of the Canadian Tour.

Johnston received the invitation three weeks ago after qualifying at a London tour stop. With only a dozen rounds under his belt this summer, his raw skills were strong enough to qualify him. Johnston was fully aware, however, his game was not at its peak performance level which removed a great deal of the pressure. He approached the tournament with the attitude of an underdog golfer and not as an all-or-nothing zombie.

"It was nice to see the tour from the inside of the ropes," Johnston said, contrasting his involvement from the administrative role he took with the national tour all summer.

"To witness the more pampered lifestyle of the golfer was nice."

Johnston finished the second day of competition on Saturday one shot over par – leaving him five strokes off the cut to qualify for the final round.

He was happy with his performance but admitted inconsistency hurt him from moving on to Sunday's competition.

"At times I looked brilliant and then at other times I looked as if I had never had a club in my hands before."

More practice on the links this summer would have made a world of difference according to Johnston. He pointed out that while he was really rough on the first day, tapping in six birdies in his second round to improve his score was a better representation of his true capabilities.

"I've played with some good players and I know I can play with these guys," he added.

Raising his game to the next level will have to wait. Now in his second year of the MBA program, Johnston's studies are of greater importance and taking up a great deal of his time.

As for next summer, he is looking at several options. Recruiting has already started with corporations and MBA students, but his love for the game isn't exactly something he plans to give up.

"My plan after May is that I'm going to take the summer off and dedicate myself to my game before I have to seriously dedicate myself to a career," he said.

Fully aware a career as a PGA professional is probably not in the cards, Johnston plans to combine his passion for the game of golf into his business degree when the time comes to settle on a career.

"I came to the MBA program to mix them," Johnston said. "They are two perfect skills to have and they lend themselves to each other."

He pointed to consulting or entrepreneurial work as two very viable options which can combine his strongest passions.




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Copyright The Gazette 1998