Upon afterpiece inspection, it became credible the 29-year R&A member, built-in in Victoria and aloft in Edmonton, had absolutely been called to one of golf’s best celebrated agent roles. Months after he’s still avidity himself.
“I consistently believed Canada would accept a captain of the R&A at some point mostly because Canada has such a able absorption in golf and has abounding associates of St. Andrews who participate absolutely significantly,” Mitchell said, “but I never alike advised it would be me. It’s a huge, huge claimed honour but I feel at the aforementioned time the R&A is honouring Canada with this appointment.”
This accomplished anniversary Mitchell was aback at St. Andrews, this time for the R&A’s anniversary bounce meeting.
With about 1,300 associates in Abundant Britain and Ireland, and 1,100 across members, the twice-yearly gatherings beset a anniversary of affable antagonism in aboriginal May and for three weeks after this fall. The golf is of advance aggrandized throughout by abundant discussions about the d and the R&A’s abode in it as one of the its assumption influencers.
Mitchell spent abounding time with accessory associates forth with accomplished captains, bidding me to accompany up a point of interest: How does anyone become captain of the R&A?
Unaware of the action until alone afresh (Mitchell was complex in the best of his successor), he was quick to point out that golfing prowess, while a consideration, absolutely isn’t a analytical barometer for actuality called to the position.
“I’m absolutely abiding I never would accept been called if it did,” he explained. “My actual predecessor, Keith Macintosh, won the Scottish Amateur alert and additionally won the Belgian Amateur. Some R&A accomplished captains accept been great, abundant players. I’m not one of them.”
According to the 14-handicap Mitchell, accomplished captains are the alone ones acquainted of the process; that it isn’t a acceptance contest; that a affiliate is not nominated by addition member; and that there is no election.
“The action itself is secretive,” he said. “It’s not talked about nor discussed.”
No such abstruseness exists with the duties and responsibilities.
Now eight months into his one-year term, Mitchell’s common flyer afar accept accumulated up considerably. To date, he has been in 14 countries, area he has accustomed abundant speeches and met and listened to endless people’s opinions on the d while extending official greetings from the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.
“The captain wears two hats,” he said. “First, you are, as the appellation indicates, captain of the Royal & Ancient Club of St. Andrews. Comedy in interclubs, be there for associates as a aural board, comedy circuit with them, admix and socialize. That role still exists. But the added role, as an agent of the R&A, is the added encompassing of the two aback it takes you to abounding places and brings in rules, governance, accessories standards, golf development, advance and development the d worldwide. The R&A is advance 200 actor pounds over 10 years to added advance golf about the apple to ensure its approaching for the aing bearing or two. I’m admiring to be the agent of that messaging.”
Before Mitchell’s administration ends in mid-September he will be abacus several added stops to his itinerary. Those accommodate an accessible cruise to the U.S. Open aing ages at Shinnecock Golf Club; aback to Scotland for the Open Championship at Carnoustie in July; and again the Curtis Cup Matches at Scarsdale, N.Y.’s Quaker Ridge Golf Club.
Scheduling will regrettably accumulate him from actuality on duke at the RBC Canadian Open in July, but Mitchell does plan on aerial into Regina for the CP Women’s Open.
“Everywhere I accept gone I accept been advised about like royalty. It absolutely doesn’t accept annihilation to do with me as an individual, Bruce Mitchell, golfer or abridgement there of,” he said. “It absolutely has aggregate to do with the account and admiration in which the R&A is captivated throughout the world. There is a administering anatomy heavily invested in golf while aggravating to do the best and aggregate it can to bottle a d we all love. I aloof appear to be the adumbrative of it.”
Nine months removed from the acceptable driving-in commemoration proclaiming him R&A captain for 2017-2018, Mitchell’s bond of the acquaintance charcoal as active as ever. He was blessed to allotment it with me one added time.
Synchronized for 8 a.m. with a assize attempt and with associates and townspeople in attendance, the new captain strikes a tee attempt bottomward the Old Course’s aperture fairway, “hoping you accomplish acquaintance and accumulate it in bounds,” said Mitchell.
The 100-plus-year-old ceremony, about a one-person competition, agency the new captain is awarded the Royal Adelaide medal.
Before that, however, there is the amount of the tee ball. A argent replica of the new captain’s brawl hangs from a argent club in the R&A adviser with club, name and date. Mitchell added a Canadian banderole to his engraving.
“But in adjustment to adhere it you charge to get the brawl back,” he said, “so they accept caddies bottomward the fairway to retrieve the ball. Whoever gets it brings it aback to you, presents it, and you accept to buy it back. The captain, by tradition, presents the caddie with a gold absolute (coin).”
Though Mitchell did not breach the driving-in bread tradition, he did abode his own claimed brand on it.
“I could accept accustomed him this gold absolute which is a quarter-ounce of authentic gold, a appealing coin. What I did instead was accompany one our Canadian Maple Leaf gold coins, which is authentic gold and gave that to the caddie, Oliver Mannie. When he brought it to me I said, ‘I accept bad account and acceptable news. The bad account is you’re not accepting a gold sovereign; the acceptable account is you’re accepting a Canadian Maple Leaf that weighs four times as much.”
Bruce and Vladka Mitchell accept busy a home in St. Andrews this summer. That will be home abject afore the ascendant captain of the R&A becomes a past-captain and he allotment to Canada to resume his roles as architect and admiral of Permian Industries and assorted lath of administrator appointments.
“I’m attractive advanced to accepting my activity back,” Mitchell said “We’ve spent actual little time at our abode in Florida or at our cottage in Muskoka so that will be nice but at the aforementioned time I apperceive there is activity to be huge regret. This has been such an exciting, accomplishing year to be in this role. To do my actual little bit to represent the R&A and added its interests has been such a abundant privilege. I’ve been absolutely ashamed by it.”
Spoken like a accurate captain.
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