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July 19, 2016

David Hearn

Graham DeLaet

Brooke Henderson

Alena Sharp

Oakville, Ontario, Canada

SCOTT RUSSELL: My name is Scott Russell. I'm the host of Olympic pride time on CBC and we are very proud to be Canada's Olympic broadcaster at CBC.

We have been Canada's Olympic broadcaster since 1956 and the games in Melbourne in Australia, and so we are celebrating our 60th anniversary. Those were the first Games in the southern hemisphere. It's a great honor to act as your emcee today, because today is a special event. I've broadcast from 11 Olympic Games, beginning in Seoul, South Korea in 1988 and I can tell that you each and every Olympic gathering is a monumental one.

We officially open the 107th playing of Canada's National Open Championship sponsored by RBC and at the same time, we are introducing you to Canada's Olympic golf team. The first such announcement in more than a century. And to start us off today, for this very special announcement for Team Canada, 2016, I'd like to ask Justine Decock of Golf Canada to sing our National Anthem.

(National Anthem sung).

I'd now like to ask the CEO of Golf Canada, Scott Simmons, to say a few words. Scott?

SCOTT SIMMONS: Well, good morning everyone. What a great day. And as Scott said, welcome to the 107th playing of Canada's National Men's Open Golf Championship, the RBC Canadian Open.

Once again, we have 156 world-class players in our field, including the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked players in the world, seven past champions, 14 Canadians and for the first time, we can also say seven Olympians.

I'd like to thank all of our partners that helped make this week so special, and in particular, RBC and BMW are also both Olympic sponsors. And thanks, also, to our friends from Shaw and Global for providing the technology that allows Brooke Henderson to join us today here from Calgary.

Lastly, a huge thank you to our 1,400 volunteers, Glen Abbey Golf Club and their staff, the town of Oakville, and all the spectators that help make this week a tremendous success. And what makes this week even more special is, of course, golf's return to the Olympics for the first time since 1904, and we are the defending champion.

As a native of Brantford, Ontario and a member of the Brantford Golf and Country Club, I know how proud we are of David and Alena, and I'm sure the same is true in Hamilton, Smiths Falls, Ontario, in Weyburn, Saskatchewan and all other communities from coast to coast.

So congratulations to our Olympians, and everyone enjoy this week's RBC Canadian Open.

SCOTT RUSSELL: Thank you so much, Scott. After a 112-year hiatus, golf is back on the Olympic Programme. The last time golf was played at the Olympic Games was in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1904, and a Canadian, as Scott alluded to, by the name of George S. Lyon won gold. So a Canadian to this day is the reigning Olympic golf champion.

To tell you a little bit about George, he founded the Lambton Golf and Country Club. He won the Olympic championship at age 46. He was an eight-time Canadian Amateur champion. Talk about golf and the Olympic Games; it was also played in 1900 in Paris. At that time, there were men's and women's individual events.

In 1904, there was a men's individual event and a men's team event, and so the hiatus has been longer for women at the Olympic Games. In all, 13 medals have been won in the Olympic Games in golf: Americans have won ten of those medals, Brits have won two, and Canada one, which is the Gold Medal by George S. Lyon.

In that 112 intervening years, golf has continued to grow around the world and here at home in Canada and now we have a new generation of Canadian golfers to carry the torch in Rio de Janeiro in 17 days from now. Rio is at our doorstep.

This is the first Olympiad in South America, one where so many issues dominate the headlines in the lead-up to the Games. But the Games will go ahead. 10,000 athletes from more than 200 countries, people of every race, faith, gender and orientation, in one place, at one time, the greatest spectacle on the face of the earth, only the Olympic Games can do that.

These four men and women, the athletes, who have been named to Canada's Olympic golf team, are extraordinary individuals.

Before we start with the team introductions, I want to recognize some people here with us today and please give them your applause. From Golf Canada, president Roland Deveau. From the government of Canada, Stéphane Lauzon, Parliamentary Secretary, representing Sport Canada. And the member of Provincial Parliament, from Oakville, the Honorable Kevin Flynn.

And ladies and gentlemen, how about a real round of applause from the Canadian Olympic Committee, the Canadian Olympic Team, a three-time Olympic medalist, an honored member of Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, the chef de mission for Team Canada, he was the chef de mission for Team Canada at the Pan American Games in Toronto last summer, ladies and gentlemen, Curt Harnett, Curt Harnett.

Stay standing, Curt, because I want you to present our Olympians with their official Team Canada jackets (presentation).

First, a member of the Brantford Golf Club, his hometown, third at the RBC Canadian Open last year, what drama he gave us; a four Nations Cup winner for Canada as an amateur: David Hearn.

From Weyburn, Saskatchewan, he has represented Canada at the World Cup, and The Presidents Cup. You may not recognize him today, but you will when he gets on the course in Brazil, Graham DeLaet.

She is a native of Hamilton, Ontario, three CPGA championships to her credit. Her first was won at the Lambton Golf and Country Club, home of George S. Lyon; there is the Olympic connection. She is a proud member of the Brantford Golf Club. Ladies and gentlemen, Alena sharp.

And via satellite, all the way from Calgary, Alberta, where she is hosting a junior golf clinic, the current LPGA champion, ranked No. 2 in the world, from Smiths Falls, Ontario, Brooke Henderson. And ski cross Olympian Brady Lehman will present Brooke with her jacket in Calgary.

And now for the coaches. The men's team coach, Derek Ingram. The women's team coach, Tristan Mullally. Tristan Mullally. And golf Canada's chief sport officer, Jeff Thompson.

What an incredible team we have, and Curt, I'd like you to say a few words about welcoming golf to Team Canada and back to the Olympic Games.

CURT HARNETT: Thank you, Scott, and congratulations, athletes. Looking forward to seeing you guys on the ground in Rio as Scott pointed out in 17 short days.

We at the Canadian Olympic Committee quite frankly are over-the-top excited about the introduction of golf into these Olympic Games, and hopefully a successful tournament breeds future involvement in future Games.

It's kind of interesting, because it is exciting and we as a former Olympian, one of those moments and having this opportunity now to act as the chef de mission, one of the first questions I get asked with regards to my role as the chef is: What do you do and what culinary school did you go to; why are you not wearing a puffy white hat and a knife and asking them what their dietary restrictions are. That is not the role, for those of you that may not be familiar with this role.

My role is really the lead delegate, the leader of the team, the entire Canadian delegation going to Rio to provide some leadership, mentorship, and quite frankly to be a glorified cheerleader on the ground during our athletes's competition. And couldn't be more excited than having the opportunity to watch these athletes compete against the world's best down in Rio.

Rio is ready. We have an advance team down. They just moved into the Village last night, and they have sent back two thumbs up with regards to where Rio is at with their preparations. The Olympic experience is different. It is. As I pulled up into the parking lot here, I noticed where the players had their nice parking lot, off to the side. We do kind of offer that; it just happens to be a big bus shuttle that sort of has a little station stop and you get off.

As Scott pointed out, there's over 10,000 athletes from around the world that will be resident in the Olympic Village while you're down there, and as I always point out to the athletes, it's got to be the largest gathering of tall people in the world. You walk around, if you're six feet tall, maybe 6-2, and you think, hey, maybe I'm even above average in height. And you spend the whole time on the ground looking up at people, trying to get noticed, trying to just kind of get around to make sure that when they take the pictures, that we push them to the back and unfortunately there's so many of them that you just kind of end up kneeling on the ground.

But anyways. We are, and the teams have been working together behind the scenes. One of the great things the Olympic Committee does so well is provide best-in-class services to our athletes, and we have been working to ensure that our athletes have everything that they need to compete and win against the best in the world in Rio this summer. And I'm looking forward to us defending our medal and bringing glory back home to Canada in both the men's and women's competition. Good luck to you guys.

SCOTT RUSSELL: Thanks so much, Curt. And before we engage in a couple of questions for each of our Olympic athletes here, and I say that with great reverence, because a small fraction of the world's population with call themselves Olympian and now you four can. It's a wonderful privilege that you have, a tremendous honor, and I believe that Canada's Olympians are national treasures, each and every one.

But Curt, on a serious note, I do want to ask you about the importance of the success of these Olympic Games, considering all that's happened, and all that will happen, and the importance of the commitment that these athletes have made to the Olympic journey.

CURT HARNETT: Well, it really is an interesting journeys, as we travel into these Olympics, first time ever in a South American country. We certainly, if you've read anything in the media, have seen the challenges this organizing committee has faced.

As I just said, one of the most amazing things -- and I was just in the city, just down in Rio, about a month ago and seen the preparations and seen where they are at, and they are ready to host these Games. It is such a spirited and amazing culture, and I think going to be a fantastic host for these Games.

But you also touched on the element of what it means to be an Olympian, and the opportunity to wear the maple leaf and represent your country. It is really one of those unique journeys that is very individual, and it is kind of amazing when that individual effort brings to you such a moment where you're part of this massive movement, this massive opportunity, this delegation of like-minded individuals that constitute a team, that same spirit, that same attitude, that same way of going about doing business. And that is, I say it this way, we will smile and hold the door open for you, but we will have no problem kicking your ass. I apologize to the children here.

But it is -- but that's the real world. No, it is one of those things where it just is amazing the spirit that we have. It's almost a paradox that a Canadian athlete has where we have that energy, we have that pride, but that humility; yet, we're driven, and the competitive nature that keeps us going every day really comes to the forefront when we hit the field of play, and I'm excited to watch these athletes do so down in Rio.

SCOTT RUSSELL: Can I bring Brooke into the conversation in Calgary. You're at a junior golf clinic, Brooke. You've done so well recently on the LPGA Tour, the big victory in the championship, and you've inspired so many young Canadians. I'm wondering what you think golf can grow and how much the sport can grow, by being involved in the Olympic Games and how eager you are to take part in that return to the Games.

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, I think having golf back in the Olympics is huge. I think it's huge for Canada. I think it's huge for the entire world. Standing here with these youngsters right beside me, it's really cool to have the opportunity to maybe inspire and motivate them just like I looked up to many LPGA Tour stars in my lifetime, and you know, it's an amazing feeling to be named an Olympian, have a chance to go down to Rio, and like you mentioned, to defend that title from over a hundred years ago.

So that's really what I'm looking for and I've had an awesome season so far, so I'm hoping to cap it off with a Gold Medal down in Rio.

SCOTT RUSSELL: Alena, you're a member of Brantford golf Club, your hometown is Hamilton. We always say at the Olympics, it takes a village; it takes a community to grow a champion. And I'm wondering what it means to you to be going not only to represent Canada, but to represent all the people of your hometown.

ALENA SHARP: It's an amazing feeling. I got asked that same question this morning, and to represent Canada is one thing, but to be representing Hamilton is another. There's not too many Olympian athletes that are going from Hamilton.

So I feel very honored to be going down to Rio and representing Hamilton. Wearing the red and white is something I love to do, I've done it a couple times before and there's no better feeling in the world.

SCOTT RUSSELL: David, you heard the roar of the crew here at the RBC Canadian Open last year on that final day, and there is something to the swell of Canadians behind you when you compete. Am I right, and are you looking forward to that experience at the Olympics?

DAVID HEARN: Yeah, absolutely. I had the experience last year here at the Canadian Open to feel what energy Canadian fans bring to their athletes.

I know watching the Olympics, growing up, and I know the emotion and everything that was triggered in myself watching those Games, and I'm very excited to be an Olympian and very proud, and the experience that I had here last year at the RBC Canadian Open is something I'll never forget.

The outpouring of support from family and friends and people that are close to you and everybody else that came out to support, it was truly an incredible experience and one I'll never forget. I'm excited about the experience we have coming up in Rio and hopefully create some new memories there that I'll never forget as well.

SCOTT RUSSELL: Canada is a team country, so caddies are a part of this equation at the Olympics. I know David, Ralph, your coach will be your caddie there. Alena, your long-time friend and caddie will be with you again in Rio. And I know Brooke, out in Calgary, that your sister, Brittany, will be your caddie as she always is on the LPGA circuit. She'll be there in Rio de Janeiro.

Graham, here is the question for you: You have made a choice to bring a different kind of caddie because yours is unable to go. Why don't you tell us about Ray Whitney.

GRAHAM DeLAET: First of all, Ray is a great friend of mine. We play a lot of golf together. He's a great player in his own mind. He's caddied for Juli Inkster a couple times, so he does have a little bit of experience.

It's unfortunate. Obviously I wanted Julian to be there. He's a big part of what we do as a team, but I supported his decision to not be able to come. But I think it will be great to have Ray there. He was telling me, man, I'd have been on four Olympic teams if I was born in any other country. He's got the passion. He's as Canadian as it gets and it's going to be a fun experience to share that with him.

SCOTT RUSSELL: I have one more question for each of you. I'll go to Brooke first and here is the question: And it's an extraordinary time for golf at the Olympic Games, as it returns after 112 years, and there are many reasons not to go to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Each of you athletes have made a commitment to go and represent Canada.

Why did you feel, Brooke, it was necessary to make that commitment?

BROOKE HENDERSON: It's an opportunity of a lifetime to go and represent your country, and to defend that Gold Medal, it's really important to all four of us, I think I can say.

To be an Olympian was always a dream since I was a little girl but I didn't know what sport or how I was going to do it but I loved watching the athletes and I loved the desire, the determination, the focus, that they had in their eyes and I wanted to be an Olympian.

I just kind of got fortunate that a few years ago, I found out golf was coming back into the Games. So I worked my butt off to get on the team and now I'm really happy to be going down with Alena and David and Graham and hopefully we'll make Canada proud.

SCOTT RUSSELL: What tilted the scale in the Olympic favor for you?

ALENA SHARP: Same as she said, you grow up watching the Olympics, and being into golf, there was no chance to be an Olympian. And then when it was announced, it was something very important to me to be able to represent Canada and go down to Rio. And growing up, I always watched the hockey, and we are known for hockey, but I think it's time to show the world that we are known for golf.

SCOTT RUSSELL: Graham, how about you? You, too, have talked about hearing the Canadian anthem here, seeing the flag, the crowds at the Canadian Open, and you couldn't wait for the Olympics.

GRAHAM DeLAET: Yeah, when I think about it, I mean, I think part of being Canadian is having that pride. It should be a privilege to represent your country, not a chore. I wouldn't have missed it for anything.

SCOTT RUSSELL: David, you're last word on this.

DAVID HEARN: Yeah, I've had the opportunity to represent Canada a number of times as a junior golfer, as an amateur and even as a professional. Any time you play to represent your country, there's a different type of pride and feeling that goes along with when you play those weeks, and you know, to have this opportunity to represent Canada on the biggest stage of sport in the world is something I couldn't turn down. It's something I'm excited and honored and can't wait to get down there he can.

SCOTT RUSSELL: Thank you all for the great insight you've shared with us today. I look forward to seeing you in Rio very soon, 17 days, the Games begin. We have full confidence you're going to compete at your best. We can all attest that Canada's Olympians are national treasures, as I said, amongst our finest ambassadors. These historic Olympics will be intensely watched. You become significant figures for your country and for your sport.

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