Meeting The Great One - and his family

2017-02-23 15:46
Dave Marshall, Trevor Gretzky and Wayne Gretzky (Supplied)

I met Wayne Gretzky, AKA "The Great One", at the 2016 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Gretzky mentioned this meeting to a golf journalist - and it became the No 1 story for the Globe and Mail in 2016!

Our paths crossed once again at this year's event during the first round at Monterey Peninsula.

Gretzky brought me up to speed regarding his promotional ice hockey tour to Australia.

He loved Australia (all of his time was spent in Sydney) and the hockey games were a resounding success.

Over the course of a couple of rounds at the AT&T we discussed the sporting prowess of his kids.

Ty, 26, runs the very successful Gretzky ice hockey coaching school.

Trevor, 24, was a promising quarterback at Arizona State University. He switched to baseball and he just finished a 4-year stint with the Chicago Cubs.

He heads to Australia in 2018 to play professionally with the Melbourne Aces.

Tristan, 16, has learnt how to play golf from his prospective brother-in-law Dustin Johnson and plays off a scratch handicap.

He regularly hits 320-yard drives and was a member of the winning Northern Trust Pro-Am in 2016 (on 15-under-par). His mother was also in the fourball along with Johnson.

Emma, 13, is a star tennis player and according to Gretzky "she is getting better and better."

Gretzky recently became involved in a managerial capacity with his beloved Edmonton Oilers (with whom he played his first nine seasons of NHL with).

For a better understanding of the furore that resulted when Gretzky left the Oilers for the Los Angeles Kings, a 30 For 30 documentary called 'King's Ransom' outlines all the drama.

Gretzky mentioned he was once lucky enough to play with the recently departed great, Arnold Palmer, about 15 years ago. During this round Palmer aced a par-3!

Gretzky was about to embark on a gruelling road trip - including visits to Chicago, Tampa, Sunrise, Washington, Nashville, and St Louis - in his capacity as Oilers Assistant GM

Gretzky mentioned how times have changed regarding how teams now travel for their away games. It's now all by private jet whereas when he first played the teams travelled on commercial airlines.

During one of his Pebble Beach rounds this year Gretzky spotted a kid in a wheelchair.

Gretzky reached into his golf bag, signed his 99 golf ball and presented it to the boy. The smile that resulted would have lit up California in a blackout!

If there was an index for a great sportsman and a great ambassador to the people then Wayne Gretzky would easily be No 1.

"The Great One" is a man for the people. He always signs autographs (even in the pouring rain) and responds to the calls of fans as he strides down the fairway.

Gretzky, I miss you already and I eagerly look forward to the 2018 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am event!


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