Golfer Craig Bonney goes Under the Auld Pump with TIM AULD.
Born: In Tasmania on January 13, 1969.
Wife: Debra. Child: William.
Parents: John and Julie. Siblings: Mandy and Stephen.
Education: Cooee Primary School before going to Burnie High School and then Launceston High School.
Sporting highlights: Would have to be when Cathy Freeman won the gold medal at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.
Craig, it's great you mentioned the win by Cathy Freeman at the 2000 Olympic Games as one of your sporting highlights.
Undoubtedly her win is a big part in Australia's sporting history. Can you remember where you were when her name entered the history books?
It's a funny story. My wife Debra and I went to Sydney for one day back in 2000 for the Olympic Games.
Nick Bolden from the travel agency organised the tickets for us to go up to Sydney to watch the athletic events.
We were there when Cathy won her semi-final heat. It was amazing to just be there to watch Cathy win her heat.
It was the same day that the late Kerryn McCann ran in the marathon for Australia.
I'll never forget the roar of the crowd when she entered the stadium.
There was just this enormous roar from the fans. The atmosphere in the stadium was electric. It's something I'll never forget being there for those two events and I'm sure Debra will never forget it.
We came back home to Warrnambool to watch Cathy win the final with Bruce McAvaney calling the event on the television.
It's a strange thing but I've also got a story relating to Bruce McAvaney.
What's the story you have about Bruce McAvaney?
My sister Mandy knows Bruce very well from her times playing basketball for the Melbourne Tigers.
It was back in 1992. Bruce was at the basketball this night and we got talking. I told him I was playing pennant golf.
We organised to have a round of golf the next day at Woodlands. I was a member at the course. I found Bruce to be a fascinating person. He knew so much about sport and its history on so many fronts.
It's over 30 years ago that I played the round of golf with him but it's something that I will always remember.
Craig, I take it with you being a professional golfer back in 1992 that you would have won the golf over Bruce?
Yes. That's right I won but Bruce was a handy sort of golfer.
I ended up playing golf on the Australian PGA tour from 1996 to 1998. It was tough trying to make a living out of the PGA.
I was offered a job as the professional at the Elsternwick golf club in mid 1998.
It was only a nine-hole course but it was really busy.
My working career headed in another direction in 1999 when I was appointed the professional golfer at the Warrnambool Golf Club.
I replaced George Campbell.
Undoubtedly, one of the golfers that you would have come across in your times as the professional at Warrnambool would have been a young Marc Leishman. What are your memories of Marc playing golf before he made it on the world stage?
I initially coached Marc when he was 15 years old. I could see he had a lot of talent for golf at that young age.
I've watched his career progress over the years from being the club champion at Warrnambool to winning state and then national golf tournaments before going onto the world stage.
His golfing career has been nothing short of incredible. Marc was ranked in the top 20 golfers in the world at one stage.
I think he's ranked number 65 now but a couple of wins or good performances in tournaments will see his ranking drop back down.
Craig, having coached Marc you would understand why he's been such a good golfer. What have been the key attributes to his successful golfing career?
Firstly, Marc hits the ball a long way. His short game is also very good and his attitude is great. He doesn't get too fazed which is a big bonus and on top of that he has a lot of ability.
Marc has never forgotten where his career started. He's very humble.
I've been very fortunate to have gone overseas and watched him play in San Diego, New York and Pebble Beach.
The golfing fame has never gone to Marc's head. He's just the same sort of bloke who was raised in Warrnambool and I think a lot of the credit for that must be given to his parents.
Lots of people would think it would be great to be like Marc Leishman playing golf all around the world but believe me it would be very demanding. There's a lot of travel and time away from your family when you're playing golf at the elite level.
Craig, in November 2021 you joined the Port Fairy golf club as the assistant professional to Anthony Warburton.
How's that job going?
It's great. There's been no dramas or stress. I work in the pro-shop and do a lot of teaching. Port Fairy's golf course is incredible and a lot of the credit should go to the grounds staff headed by Troy Richardson.
Port Fairy's golf course is ranked number 56 in Australia which is amazing for a golf course in a small country town.
There's just some amazing water views from some of the holes. I would have to say there's not many other golf courses in Australia that have the sea views that the Port Fairy golf course offers.
Craig, your late dad John played 87 games of footy with St Kilda after being recruited from Tasmania.
Did you play much footy?
I played a bit of junior footy before training with St Kilda's under 19 side.
I'll never forget I went to the pre-season training and the next minute I looked up and there was a 16-year-old lad called Stewie Loewe next to me.
Stewie was a man-made mountain, I knew I would struggle to get a kick against a bloke like him.
I played a bit of tennis when I was younger but once I realised my footy career would go nowhere I took up golf and I've had no regrets.
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