Sarah MacLeod will never forget her dad’s feats on the greens around the world, or the way he guided her through life as a shining beacon of positivity.
On Monday, she said goodbye to her dad during a service at St. James Presbyterian Church in Truro. Along with a daughter, he left behind his wife, Joanne. He was 56 years old.
“He was everything to me,” Sarah said. “My own inspiration and hero in my own house. And I have to live up to that.”
Her father went blind before she was born, a result of two freak accidents combined – one during a hockey game, the other at work. He was always worried about how he’d explain to his daughter that he couldn’t see her face.
But Sarah can only remember one instance where his disability was evident. She was a child, and they were colouring in a colouring book together. She let out a sigh, and her father asked what was wrong.
“You’re colouring outside the lines,” she replied. Thinking back on it now, she laughs. The only thing he couldn’t conquer then was a colouring book.
His exploits on the golf course showcased his ability to overcome obstacles thrown in front of him throughout his life. “I never really watched him struggle,” Sarah said. “He just overcame things.”
There was no way he’d overcome his final battle, however. Last spring, he was diagnosed with porocarcinoma – an extremely rare type of skin cancer in the sweat glands. The prognosis was bleak from the start. Still, he was never down, his wife and daughter said.
His positive attitude and dedication to golf carried him to the top of the sport, with 67 championships in 100 tournaments. “And he counted every damn one of them,” Sarah laughed. “He was super competitive. When he got really sick, he took up crib and he was the best at that, too.”
His wife coached him through many of those wins. The impact he left on other golfers was immense, she said, noting players always wanted to be at their best when they knew Brian MacLeod was in the field.
“He was just so inspiring and motivating,” Joanne said.
Two years ago, Sarah had the chance to coach her father at a tournament in Kentucky. In the airport on the way there, she told people what they were doing and how they were going to win.
“He’d say, ‘Sarah, don’t say that!’ But then of course, we won.”
A proud daughter, she remembers being choked up at every tournament she went to and every trophy she saw him receive.
“We’ve always just been like two peas in a pod.”