Lorie Kane tried to hold back the tears on Tuesday, but couldn’t quite get the job done.
Emotions ran high when she announced that August’s CP Women’s Open at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club will be her 30th and final Canadian Open championship.
“It will be my last,” said Kane, the longtime queen of Canadians on the LPGA Tour. “I’m not going to stop playing golf because how do you retire from something you absolutely love doing, but lately I’ve been a bit up and down.”
Kane, who competed on the 1996 LPGA Tour and has four titles and 99 top-10 finishes, believes she can best serve the Canadian golf industry by focusing her energies on promoting and developing Golf Canada . She is passionate about continuing to work to make the women’s game in Canada even bigger.
Of course, that includes pushing the upcoming CP Open. As in 2017, it will be the Brooke Henderson Show, but the contestant in Kane hopes to turn back the clock a bit to survive the cut after the first two rounds and play through the weekend.
“I’ve been waiting for this for a while,” she said. “I just feel like it’s the right time. When I walk up to the 18th hole, it’s the last time.”
Kane has served as a mentor to legions of young female golfers for over two decades.
That group includes Henderson, who held back her own tears as she described what Kane has meant to her over the years.
A 14-year-old playing in her first Canadian Open, Henderson says she was like “a deer in the headlights” when she saw Kane up close.
Over time, the two have forged a close bond as they carry the red and white maple leaf flag around the world.
“I respect everything Lorie has ever told me,” Henderson said. “I always looked up to her. I ended up asking her opinion on all sorts of things.”
Kane says it’s a bit like the circle of Canadian golf life, looking back at the pros who showed her the way when she broke in.
“I remember the questions (Henderson) asked me when she was young trying to decide whether to go to (university) or play golf professionally, and I’m glad she closed with what she did,” Kane said.
“I had a lot of support going on tour early, from Jocelyne Bourassa to Sandra Post to Dawn Coe-Jones. Now Alena (Sharp) and Brooke have a great relationship, and I try to give the support I have.
“Is it passing the torch? Possibly. But you know, I’ll say this, 11 (LPGA) wins this young lady (Henderson) has. That’s more than anyone else, male or female, in Canada. And she still doesn’t get the respect she deserves over the sports boards.”
Reminiscent of the overcrowded crowd cheering Henderson in 2017, Kane’s greatest hope now is that the Smiths Falls native can capture the moment and win at home.
“It will be appropriate for me, a great week and great for Brooke,” Kane said. “It’s like she’s going to have an extra bat in the bag.”
As for the timing and location of her announcement, Kane acknowledges that the arrival of COVID-19 has changed her plans.
The CP Open was originally set to be played at the Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club in Vancouver in 2020 and 2021, before the pandemic wiped it all out. The course was special to her as it was the place where she arrived on the Canadian golf scene and was also home to legendary teacher Jack McLaughlin.
“I thought maybe it would come full circle if I went back,” she said.
But given the circumstances, Kane says Ottawa is also an ideal place to go out.
In 2000, when the Canadian Open was held at Gatineau’s Royal Ottawa and known as the du Maurier Classic, Kane was busy chasing the championship right down to the last holes. In the end, she finished in a tie for fifth place.
“I thought Ottawa would be a special place because I’m a very proud Canadian,” she said.
“To have the Order of Canada and have played in 2000 and come so close to victory, and just to have the support here with the Ottawa Hunt and the city in general.
“Ottawa has been kind to women’s golf.”