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Monday Finish: Senators Mark Stone has eye for Tiger at Ryder Cup
Friday Sep 28 2018

The Ottawa Senators schedule this week couldn't have worked out better for the golf fans on the team.

The Senators went to Chicago Thursday and defeated the Blackhawks 2-1 in their penultimate exhibition game. During the regular season, teams have to be in the next city the night before the game, but in the pre-season, teams can fly in and out the day of the game.

So the Senators flew home after the game and probably got home just about the time the first tee shots flew to kick off the first day of the Ryder Cup in France.

"I'm looking forward to Ryder Cup. It is always one of my favourite events," Senators wing Mark Stone said.

Stone would be paying particular attention to how things were going with Tiger Woods. Stone said Woods is his favourite athlete and was hanging on every shot when Woods won for the first time since 2013 last Sunday, completing one of the great comeback stories in sports at the Tour Championship.

"I almost wished it was maybe little harder for him to do it," Stone said. "I'm happy he's able to win golf tournaments again. Thirty of the best players in the world were playing in that golf tournament. I'm a huge sports fan. I'm a huge golf fan. I'm a pretty typical sports fan. I usually cheer for the best in each sport. He's one of my favourites."

Stone said Woods is at the top of the list and LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers is close behind.

"It's just fascinating how dominant they are at their sports," he said. "I watched Tiger when I was eight years old until now and I just remember being so upset when he didn't win tournaments. It's the same for when I watch LeBron, I get so upset when they lose in the finals. I'm a passionate sports fan, that's for sure."

Stone, a single-digit handicap, has caddied for his friend, Canadian pro Matt Hill, on the Mackenzie Tour PGA Tour Canada. Stone, who was recently included in TSN's Top 50 players in the NHL, said he has a lot of admiration for athletes in individual sports.

There's no safety net there like there is in team sports.

"I really do think it's hard in golf, I always say I'd like to see what it's like on the Tour, but I don't think I would ever give up being a part of a team sport.

"It's so tough. Caddying for Matt, you want to help him so bad, but ultimately it is up to him to hit the golf shots. You look at those guys on Tour they always say, 'we, we, we' but ultimately it is the guy hitting the shot.

"If you make a mistake in hockey, you have your goalie for sure, but a lot of the time you have three, four guys who are back there to back you up. It goes for the same in basketball, it goes for the same in football. Those individual sports, that impresses me the most is that your are out there by yourself and if you don't perform, you don't have success."

Stone said he's a big enough fan he will probably cough up the money to watch the pay-per-view match between Woods and Phil Mickelson in November.

"I'll probably pay for it," he said. "I'm curious to see how it is. Right now it looks like Tiger is going to beat him 9&8."


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