Golf season begins when hockey season ends, especially for the players whose teams have been eliminated. None of them, though, will have the golf season that NHL referee Garrett Rank has in front of him.
Rank qualified for the 2018 US Open after finishing a qualifying tournament tied for first. His caddy for the tourney was none other than fellow referee Dan O’Rourke. The NHL referee has long been a top amateur golfer, with appearances in 15 USGA Championships and a 77th-place finish the 2016 Canadian Open. He’s also made multiple appearances at the US Amateur Four-Ball Tournament.
Just off the phone with Garrett Rank. After doing 73 games as a ref in the @NHL this year he tells me: "Was next to the best players in the world on the ice… next week I get to play with the best golfers in the world. It's a pretty cool life I'm living right now"
— Adam Stanley (@adam_stanley) June 4, 2018
NHL Director of Officiated Stephen Walkom commented on Rank’s golf game – and how it translates on the ice – shortly after he was hired as a league official.
“You can see he’s accustomed to pressure, how he’s handled it as a golfer,” said Walkom. “I don’t think missing a hooking call in a hockey game can be as difficult as coming back from missing a three-foot putt in golf for a championship. There’s a real laid-back confidence to Garrett.”
He spoke with Sportsnet about the opportunity:
All the best to referee Garrett Rank in the 2018 US Open. The tournament gets underway on June 15.