A 2019 Ford Escape has proven as hard earned and inconceivable as the golf shot an Alberta man made to win it.
The vehicle was supposed to be Percy Potts’ prize for making a hole-in-one in a late-August weekend tournament, the Alexander First Nation Golf Open, at the Goose Hummock Golf Resort in Gibbons, Alta.
But while the hole-in-one was supposed to be the difficult part, three months later, Potts still hasn’t seen his winnings.
“The way I see it, it seems like nobody wants to take responsibility for this,” he told CTV News Edmonton on Friday.
The shot itself is a moment he’ll always remember: a windless day, 165 yards to the pin, having to aim heavy to the right because of Potts’ tendency to draw left.
“You know when they say everything goes in slow motion for you—that’s true,” he recalled.
“I was like, ‘This looks good.’ It landed and it spun and it was just going real slow, and I was like, ‘That’s going to be close.'”
The shot wasn’t close. It was perfect.
“There’s a spotter standing there, and he’s yelling. I’m like ‘Oh my god!’ Jumping and yelling and running around. And the guys behind, they’re like, ‘You won a car, you won a car.'”
That night, Potts sat in the Escape’s driver’s seat, checking out the console and taking a couple pictures with his prize.
Though he couldn’t take it home, he was told the settling of the win would only take a couple weeks.
“A couple weeks went by, but I stayed patient.”
More than a couple weeks went by, however, and as he tried to reach more people, he hit a wall.
“All of a sudden: ‘We’re going to get our lawyers involved.’ And I was like, ‘What? Lawyers? What’s all this?'” Potts said.
Last month, the amateur golfer was sent a letter by Edmonton-based insurance company Hole In One Direct saying the claim had been declined.
The letter said its policy requires photos of the tee box and course green on the day of the tournament, as well as player registration and tournament draw procedures. Neither would have been Potts’ responsibility to submit.
Hole In One Direct’s letter added there were “conflicting accounts of hole setup and yardage verification.”
“So what does that mean? I wait a few years to get a vehicle that I won at the tournament?” Potts asked.
“I want the car. It doesn’t matter if the insurance company denies it. Then I’m sorry, but it’s up to you to pony up.”
Hole In One Direct also said that its policies clearly identify conditions that must be met by event organizers: “Please understand that we are not in this business to deny or discredit valid claims. We ensure that our application process and claims requirements are easy to follow to prevent situations like this from happening.”
Both the insurance company and the tournament organizer say the declined claim has been appealed, but Potts is restraining his excitement should bureaucracy continue to tie him up.
“I got excited last time, and this happened.”
However, Potts does believe his incredible, perhaps once-in-a-lifetime, shot is indisputable.
“The hole-in-one isn’t a question. It’s paperwork, I think, that’s the question.”
With files from CTV Edmonton’s Dan Grummett