Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Links turn pink today as we caddy for a cause

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I am not entirely sure how this is going to work out.

I am referring to the dramatic moment that will take place this morning when I approach my boss and inform him I am about to spray-paint his hair pink.

This colourful encounter is going to take place at Niakwa Country Club today because my buddy Bob -- who also happens to be the publisher of this newspaper -- and I will be caddying at the Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Pink Ribbon Ladies Golf Classic for Hope, the largest women-only golf tournament in the province.

The tradition is that each of the 40 four-woman teams is assigned a person of my gender to carry out their bidding, a manly man who keeps score while wearing a Spandex-style golf shirt so shockingly, nightmarishly pink circus clowns would refuse to wear one on the grounds it is beneath their dignity.

I have already given Bob his electric pink Nike golf shirt, but I have not apprised him of the fact I will be targeting his cranium with the business end of a spray can loaded with "Bwild!!! Temp'ry Colour Spray," which promises to instantly turn the hairs remaining on his head from mousy blond to, and I will quote the can, "Lynx Pink."

Technically, we caddies are not required to spray our hair pink, but I started doing it in 2011 because one of the organizers -- and I assume she was being sincere -- said it would make me a lot more popular and demonstrate a new level of commitment to the fight against breast cancer.

Speaking of which, the ladies behind the event are extremely proud their tournament, now in its 17th year, has raised more than $528,000 for CancerCare Manitoba's Breast Cancer Centre for Hope; money that helped the centre build a healing garden and sunroom.

"It's amazing the programs they're doing," tournament organizer Penny Berntt told me Friday. "That's what our money is used for. It's used strictly for programs for the breast cancer centre. That's the beauty of it.

"So much fundraising gets caught up in administration, but ours goes to programming. It's about women getting together to promote a cause that's near and dear to our hearts.

"It is affecting too many women today, too many young women. We've lost several women who have been active in our tournament for years, women who have succumbed to breast cancer. We all know someone. All the men know someone. Some of our caddies have lost their wives or mothers or a daughter."

I am proud to say this is the sixth year I have put on the pink and caddied for a seasoned group of female golfers known as the Twisted Sisters, whereas it will be Bob's first time lining up putts, retrieving lost balls and obtaining frosty beverages at a women-only tournament.

The thing is, when I told my buddy they were short a few male caddies this year, I didn't have to persuade him to take part -- he just volunteered, because that's the kind of guy he is. For instance, he once willingly agreed to be an elf and wear green tights and a dorky hat festooned with jingle bells when I played Santa Claus on the North Pole Express, a Christmas season flight for hundreds of joyously shrieking inner-city kids.

I asked Penny if she had some helpful caddying tips for Bob and here's what she said: "He needs to know he has to pamper the girls, but they will pamper him in return. He should also have some good jokes to entertain them and compliment them on how beautiful they are. That always goes a long way."

Another thing that will make him a big hit on the links today is the fact that, after I'm done with my spray can, his slightly receding hairline will resemble a bright pink Easter egg.

The golfers are going to love it. And I think Bob will, too, because the attention will go straight to his head.

doug.speirs@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 17, 2013 A2

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