History of the Haggarty (formerly the Pell) Cup
Starting in 1995, this event was originally inspired by the growing popularity of the Ryder Cup. In fact, when our event was announced that spring, it was called the Ryder Cup; the name change came when Don Pell, a member competitor in the original event, announced just before the competition that he was moving to British Columbia. The Trophy for the event was simply a reintroduction of a long retired, somewhat beat-up, Bay of Quinte trophy from the Esquire for Men Challenge.
The initial event had teams of 12 individuals who qualified through a series of competitions throughout the year, and was played over three days in the traditional Ryder Cup format of Foursomes (Alternate Shot), Four Ball and Singles. What was at stake was a chance to drink from the (disinfected) Cup, a free dinner from the losing team and bragging rights for the following year.
The inaugural event ended in a tie, leading to one of only two playoffs in the history of the event. The highlight Associate Pro Mark Lewis chunking a wedge into the first green and then executing a perfect “club throw” with the wedge hitting the middle of the pond. The wedge – complete with a few wet weeds – was subsequently presented to Mark at the banquet. Rumour has it that his playing partner in the playoffs (possibly named Mills) also put up a big number on the first playoff hole.
Winners of the inaugural event, who are still competing today, include Steve Carr, Jeff Howard, Robert Martin, Wes May, Ron McTaggart, and Gil Rutherford.
As the event evolved, it held onto its roots while recognizing its popularity with BQ golfers, so much so that there was a need to get more players involved. The 12-Man Teams have become 18-Man Teams and there is now a separate qualifying process for Seniors, and there is no shortage of individuals lining up to be Non-Playing Captains.
In 1998, the winning team from the previous year was featured in Ontario Golf magazine and was instrumental in many other clubs across Ontario introducing similar events.
Following the traditional team pictures by “Official Haggarty Cup Photographer” Linda Allen, the Opening Ceremonies have “Official Piper” Charles Orr leading the procession from the clubhouse to the first tee, and knocking back a “wee dram” (or two) in a toast to the players and our country. Charles has been a fixture at every event.
Another annual fixture is the Friday night party – hosted by a competitor – and often the downfall of the younger, inexperienced competitors who think they can go directly from the party to the first tee and have their “A” Game. Many a big lead after Day 1 has disappeared on Day 2 due to the party. Memorable parties have been hosted by Steve Carr, Wes May, Robert Martin, and Bill Morton, and for some on the losing teams, what happened at the party is the highlight of their Haggarty Cup careers.
The growth in popularity and stature of an event such as the Haggarty Cup only happens if there are individuals who are committed to making it happen. This has been the case at the Bay of Quinte GC when long time member and 10-time winner of the cup, Max Haggarty, put his support behind the event in 2000. ITS (International Truckload Services) and Max took the event to a new level, establishing a show piece event that is now a model for others to follow.
In recognition of the tremendous support from Max and ITS, the 2012 Opening Ceremonies unveiled the new Haggarty Cup, thereby retiring the Pell Cup. There were a lot of wet eyes in the room when a video of the history of the event ended with the announcement of the new trophy.
The 2012 event provided a new moment in the history of the Matches, with torrential down pours leading to the cancellation of Days two and three, which were subsequently rescheduled to the following weekend. In a fitting tribute to Max Haggarty, Team Haggarty roared back from a 2-point deficit to dominate the Singles Matches and take home the cup.