By Jim Withers
You have to have lived at least three decades in Québec to fully appreciate the cultural significance of Le Défi mini-putt on RDS.
French Canada’s TV sports network wasn’t financially able in 1990s to broadcast a lot of big-time sports, so it unabashedly included miniature golf in its programming.
The fact that such a cheap-date activity could be turned into a wildly popular – albeit obviously low-budget – show is a testament to one man, announcer Serge Vleminckx and his orgastic cry, “C’est un Biiiiirdie!” Shouting that every time a player scored a hole-in-one, Serge could make ANYTHING sound exciting.
And while it’s a shame he’ll probably never get the chance to be a colour commentator at the Masters or British Open, the good news is – after a 20-year absence – Serge and De Défi mini-putt are back on RDS. (It’s been rebranded La Coupe mini-putt.) And so is Pepsi-guzzling Carl Carmoni, the Tiger Woods of Québec mini-putt in the old days.
Hey, if ABBA can make a comeback, why not Serge, Carl and televised miniature golf?
And while I have no intention of catching every putt on every show – I like to think I have a life – I fully expect I’ll at least get my weekly fix of “C’est un Biiiiirdie!”
Bon retour, Serge, Carl et mini-putt.