CBC's Gerry Dee to play golf against Mackenzie Tour pros in Toronto this week
Comedian once competed against young Mike Weir
Gerry Dee has a simple goal for this week's Osprey Valley Open: don't embarrass himself.
"I'm going to play as well as I can and see how close I can get to not being last," said Dee, adding with a laugh: "I will be last. I will be dead last. There's no debating that."
The comedian, best known as the lead on CBC's Mr. D, has an exemption to play in this week's Mackenzie Tour event at TPC Toronto. A long-time fan of the sport who has played in many amateur competitions, Dee harbours no illusions about how he'll do in his first professional tournament.
"I have so much respect for these players, so I just don't want to embarrass myself too badly," said Dee. "I mean, I'll probably embarrass myself relative to what they're used to shooting, but I think they all get that I'm a comedian first and a golfer way down the line."
The 50-year-old Dee has been an avid golfer since he was an adolescent, competing in amateur tournaments and earning a junior sponsorship as a teenager. He played in a Canadian Junior Championship, finishing 49th as a young Mike Weir finished seventh.
Dee is a regular at the National Golf Club of Canada in Woodbridge, Ont., and says his handicap is around a five or a six thanks to the infamously challenging course.
Despite that background, Dee still has some reservations about teeing off against the likes of Hugo Bernard of Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Que., Taylor Pendrith of Richmond Hill, Ont., and Jared du Toit of Kimberley, B.C.
"It's a little different feeling. I can go talk in front of 2000 people and I don't have nerves," said Dee, who will host the game show Family Feud Canada on CBC this fall. "There will be no one there to watch me, but enough people will know. A little more nervous than excited right now."
Dee was unsure if he should accept the exemption because he was worried that it might offend some of the golfers on the Mackenzie Tour who are trying to move on to the second-tier Korn Ferry Tour or the PGA Tour. After speaking with some of his professional golfer friends, Dee thought the good for the Mackenzie Tour would outweigh the bad.
"I'm nowhere near these guys, their level," said Dee. "But I'm trying to do this to put some eyeballs on the players, and the sponsorships, and the tournament, and the tour.
"I think that's what we're really trying to achieve here. Whether people agree with the exemption or not, they're curious to see how it goes, which is exactly what we want from this."