Last year, Idyllwild native, Brendan Steele made a favorable impression on Parisians during his 7th-place finish at the French Open golf tournament — so much so that tournament officials extracted his promise to return this year.
During last week’s Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation tournament, more international fans were discovered. Steele has super-fans among our friends north of the border. André Pilon and his wife Pierrette Filon, residents of Montreal, Canada, discovered Steele in 2010 during a tournament in Athens, Georgia, on the Nationwide Tour.
Pilon and Filon had traveled to Georgia to follow a young Montreal golfer, Julien Trudeau, around the course. It happened that Trudeau and Steele were paired together during the first two rounds of the tournament, but Trudeau did not make the cut while Steele did. So when the couple returned for the final two days of the tournament, they continued following Steele.
He made such a favorable impression on these Canadian golf fans that they have traveled to watch him play in Nationwide and PGA tournaments in Ontario, North Carolina, Connecticut and California.
“When Brendan sank that putt to win the Valero Texas Open last year, Pierrette was jumping around in front of our TV set in Montreal,” Pilon said.
Last week the Canadian couple flew from Montreal to follow Steele in the Humana Challenge at La Quinta, and they intend to travel to watch him later this year at the Canadian Open in Ontario and the Travelers Classic in Connecticut, if he plays in those tournaments.
These Canadians are truly a pair of dedicated Brendan Steele fans. They not only followed him last week during his four tournament rounds, but also during his practice rounds on Monday and Tuesday and the pre-tournament Pro-Am on Wednesday — seven days.
“We’re his parents, and we didn’t even do that,” remarked Brendan’s father Kent Steele.
Even more amazing is the fact that Pilon and Filon are not retired folks with time on their hands. Pilon is an accountant-tax auditor for the government of Quebec, and Filon is a secretary for a large accounting firm. They use their vacation days to follow Steele. As the Canadians left the La Quinta tournament, they enthused about their intention to return next year.
When asked about their attraction to Steele, André, whose first language is French, responded, “The reasons we are following Brendan, are very simple. The first time my wife seen him, she noticed that Brendan is very sociable (friendly) and he has a lot of charisma. He is a fighter, he never give up, he got nerves of '’Steel’'. Finally, my wife love is new golf outfits (Pants, golf shirts).
“For myself, I loved person who has to battle all the time (I identify myself when I see him),” Pilon added. “Finally, we will follow his career every time we will be able to do so.”
So how many people do you know who fly from Montreal to Southern California to watch their favorite San Diego Charger? Pro football, eat your heart out.