With the 2012 Summer Olympics taking place in "Jolly Ole England," perhaps a "changing of the guard" was only fitting for the Sudbury Ryder Cup this year.
The Timberwolf Golf Club roster featured the absence of some tournament mainstays, replaced by some young guns — relative newcomers to the tri-club tournament.
In the end, that infusion of youth served a purpose as Timberwolf laid claim to the Ryder Cup for the first time in a decade, narrowly beating the Lively Golf and Country Club crew in the 24th and final match of the event.
Ironically, it was veteran and long-time Timberwolf pro Tom Clark who earned a half-point in his head-to-head battle with John Hastie that would provide the margin of victory.
"There were kids that played this year that weren't even born when the tournament started," Clark said recently, enjoying the fact that his play was amongst the best since he first initiated the event almost two decades ago.
"The enthusiasm of the young kids was good to see. It's good for the game to see the young kids coming up and playing well, and every team had a little bit of that changing of the guard, so to speak, but probably not as much as our team," Clark said.
Down three and a half points heading into the 12 head-to-head matchups on Sunday, Clark knew the challenge facing his team was not an easy one.
"I thought we needed to win six out of eight, but if you're at your home course, you have a better chance of doing that than somewhere else."
While the pride in the Timberwolf "up-and-comers" was evident, Clark was also more than a little pleased with an adjustment to his game that seems to be paying dividends.
"I've always been tinkering, but last fall, I seem to have found something that is sticking with me," he said. "For me to get a point and a half from John Hastie is not something that would normally happen."
Though regional bragging rights are clearly at stake, long-time friendships are first and foremost for the man primarily responsible for the establishment of this tournament back in 1992.
"I play a fair amount of golf with John (Hastie)," Clark noted. "We're great friends, and he's a great golfer. He just seems to have that second gear, as far as ball flight goes, that most other people around here don't."
With Timberwolf club champion Ryan Willoughby already committed to an annual event in Gore Bay and 2011 runner-up Jay Jewett opting to play a mixed event in his hometown of Blind River, the time for change was at hand.
Sam Yawney gave up his spot to his son, Nick, with the likes of Chase Woitowich, Matt Dumontelle, Stephen Gonko, John Maley, Shawn Stevens and Scott Wing rounding out the roster of the championship winning team.
Posted by Laurel Myers