The 33-year-old will play in front of the Winnipeg faithful once again when the Classic kicks off Thursday at Pine Ridge Golf and Country Club. Fanning has never been one to set timetables and is still committed through the 2002 season, but with wife Judy and three children, including newborn twin daughters, at home, he knows the time has come to consider-with an emphasis on the word consider- alternative career options.
'This could be it for meI think if I haven't stepped it up to the next level by the end of 2002, I'll pack it in,' admits Fanning, referring to his pursuit of the Buy.Com and PGA Tours. 'I still feel I have a lot of golf in me, but I have a family to think about. I don't want to be the part-time father and husband anymore.'
Fanning, who was born in Saskatoon, SK but now calls Winnipeg home, has been struck with the bridesmaid's label for most of his Canadian Tour career. Four times in that span, he has finished second, including a playoff loss at the 1997 TELUS Edmonton Open that denied him his initial Tour victory. Earlier this year, he managed a seventh-place showing at the season-opening Myrtle Beach Open, and followed that up by finishing third at the Shell Payless Open a few weeks back.
There is no doubt that Todd Fanning can still play the game. For just how long remains to be seen.
'If I keep playing the way I have been, I will finally get that win. But my wife and I have sat down and talked about itthere comes a time when you have to think about moving on. This Tour has been great to me, but the time has come to look to the future. I'll have to see what happens.'
Once drafted by the NHL's Vancouver Canucks, Fanning has been one of this nation's top touring professionals for the better part of the last decade. His credits speak for themselves-four-time Manitoba Amateur Champion, two-time Canadian junior champion, a member of the 1992 World Amateur Team, ten of 13 cuts made in 2000.the proverbial list goes on and on.
But still, after so many near-misses, he hasn't been able to stand on the top of the podium on a Sunday afternoon. At least not yet.
'Of course not getting that first win stuck in my head, especially after coming so close so many times. But this is a game we play, for some of us it is our living, and all you can do is give your best. If someone else is better that day, well, that is life.
Eventually, I would think my luck would have to change and all the pieces would fall together one day.'
Todd Fanning knows that day had better come soon.