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Chatting with Leaf Nation's Best Golfer

Last week Alena Sharp's comments soliciting a ottawa senators' head cover for the Canadian Open sparked a nationwide furor. Actually, it just sparked a furious fanshot from some hothead. It actually gave me the bright idea to contact her to try to get to the bottom of Head Covergate (yes, I know that Watergate was the name of the hotel and that -gate is not a suffix indicating a scandal but if real reporters don't have to acknowledge that then neither do I). Boy was I surprised when she agreed to answer my questions!

Alena is in her third full season on the LPGA tour after a very successful career at New Mexico State University. She's already the face of Canadian Women's Golfing 
in Canada as she just became the top ranked Canadian on the tour. Last weekend she finished in a tie for 45th at the CN Canadian Women's Open although her top 10 finish in 2007 shows that she might be on her way to breaking the drought of Canadian champions at our national open's.

After the jump she shares her views on the upcoming season, her favourite Maple Leaf, what her challenge showed about senators fans, and her advice for Mats. Enjoy.


1. An easy question first: A few members of the community wrote stories to describe the origins of their fandom for the Leafs but how did you become a fan of the blue and white? Was it just a foregone conclusion from living so close to the centre of the hockey universe?

I have always been a fan of the leafs, since I was a little kid playing hockey myself.  I went to a game at the Maple Leafs Gardens and loved the energy the crowd had.  It was a lot of fun.  That is why I like them and I watch them on tv whenever I am at home in Hamilton.

2. Who's your favourite Leafs player of all-time?

My favourite Leafs player of all time would have to be Wendel Clark.  He was a gutsy player who gave it his all, all the time.

3. Your comments soliciting a senators' head cover caused quite a firestorm (just kidding) but in the end your challenge (I noticed on your blog) went unanswered. Any idea why? Could it be that even senators fans realise that their team's merchandise is a waste of money?

I am not sure why no one brought me the senators head cover.  I thought for sure that someone would have brought it to me on Tuesday.  I guess when it came down to it they were just plain chicken to step up to the plate.

4. You were in a group with Michelle Wie for the first two days at last weekend's Canadian Open. I noticed that she shot an opening round 75. Do you think that she was unnerved by having to play with you? Did the extra attention have any effect on you?

I am pretty sure that Michelle was not stressed or nervous playing with me.  She didn't make putts on thursday but did make them on friday.  I liked the crowds that we got.  Love playing in front of an audience.

5. Cliff Fletcher has been pretty active in changing the face of the Leafs' this summer even going so far as to buy-out Tucker and Raycroft and (apparently) dealing Bryan McCabe. What do you think of the moves this summer? Which newcomer do you think will have the biggest impact?

I think that changes need to be made to make the leafs a competitive team again. The fans dont' want to see the big names go but it is time to change the outlook of the team.  Look at how the Penguins have come out, they have a young team and they are doing very well.  It is going to take sometime but the Leafs will get back to being competitive again.  I am not sure which newcomer will have the biggest impact but I think Jason Blake will step up this year.

6. What are your thoughts on the coming season?

I think it is going to be a rough season as the Leafs are in a rebuilding year but hopefully they will see success and ride with it.

7. Finally, do *you* know what Mats Sundin will decide to do?

I think Mats should retire.  He is taking too long to decide and in my opinion he doesn't have the drive he used to have.  He is a good leader but he isn't the player he used to be.  TML needs new, young blood.