Bob White was just a boy when he first met future golfing legend, Brian MacLeod, who lived in the same part of eastern Truro he did.
MacLeod was always a natural golfer, even before he lost his vision. A hockey puck hit one eye and a separate accident injured the other. By the time he passed away in 2015, the Truro native was one of the world’s top three blind golfers, according to White.
This Sunday and Monday, golfers from around the world will compete in the third annual Brian MacLeod Memorial Tournament at Mountain Golf and Country Club, a lasting legacy of the man himself. This tournament comes just after the ISPS Handa Canadian Open Blind Golf Championships which wraps up Friday at Truro Golf Club.
“He was just amazing to watch – his skill – he just made sighted golfers in awe,” recalled White. “He was an inspiration to other blind golfers.”
White himself is fully sighted and joked that compared to MacLeod, he was “a terrible golfer.”
The two were firm friends despite White being 10 years younger. MacLeod often beat him at cribbage.
After losing his vision, White said a coach helped MacLeod line up shots and he was able to judge the distance he hit the ball. Off the green, MacLeod often fundraised for Blind Golf Canada.
During his golfing career, MacLeod played in tournaments as far away as Australia and made friends from all over the world. Golfers from the United States and British Columbia, who he befriended, are expected to play in the memorial tournament.
MacLeod passed away from cancer in December 2015, but just 19 months beforehand he played in the Australian Open and ended up winning the trophy in the Outback town of Nelson’s Bay. En route to victory, MacLeod played as kangaroos stood behind – and also had to beware of Australia’s poisonous snakes.
The tournament will be a chance for MacLeod’s golfing buddies and loved ones to meet and reminisce.
“It keeps all his friends from around the world together,” said White. “It’s such a positive experience when you meet these people. It makes you proud to be part of the organization.”
When asked what he would say to his old friend if he had a chance, White’s reply was simple.
The Brian MacLeod Memorial tournament is full and tees off Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Mountain Golf and Country Club; Monday, tee time is 9 a.m. A presentation and dinner will be held at the after golf wraps up Monday.