How Paul Bissonnette beat Sidney Crosby, earned the title of ‘sandbagger’

Paul Bissonnette is an honest guy. Or at least, he tries to be. That’s why the Barstool podcaster doesn’t like the title his golf game earned from an 18-hole bout with NHL stars Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon.

On this week’s episode of GOLF’s Subpar, Bissonnette sits down with Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz to break down how he earned the nickname, and what he’s doing to save his good name.

The story starts on a trip to Crosby’s hometown — Halifax, Canada — when Bissonnette squared off with the pair of NHLers for a round of golf. Normally, an on-course battle between a podcaster and two of the best athletes on earth would net a rather predictable result: a landslide for the pros. But Bissonnette is a former NHLer himself, and as he explains, he had an ace up his sleeve.

“We were going to have a golf match where we gave our handicaps,” he said. “Well, it was a wet course so we teed up a lot closer than usual, so I gave my handicap as if we were playing from further back.”

But, if the strategic advantage weren’t enough, Bissonnette shot out of a cannon to begin his round. What began as a fun day on the course quickly devolved into the sort of hyper-competitive battle you’d expect from three professional hockey players.

“I had the front nine of my life,” he said. “So, Nathan MacKinnon and Crosby being very competitive, Nathan MacKinnon more so, was like ‘this guy’s a f—— sandbagger.’ He was genuinely p——.”

From there, the rivalry was born.

“So I’m like, okay, we’re going to call this the Sandbagger Invitational,” Bissonnette said. “So we ended up beating them, they had to take us out for dinner and have a few nice bottles of wine. And ultimately, the entire internet thinks I’m a sandbagger now because I had the front nine of my life.”

To hear the rest of Bissonnette’s Subpar interview, including what it takes to be an enforcer in the NHL, check out the video below.

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James Colgan Editor

James Colgan is an assistant editor at GOLF, contributing stories for the website and magazine on a broad range of topics. He writes the Hot Mic, GOLF’s weekly media column, and utilizes his broadcast experience across the brand’s social media and video platforms. A 2019 graduate of Syracuse University, James — and evidently, his golf game — is still defrosting from four years in the snow, during which time he cut his teeth at NFL Films, CBS News and Fox Sports. Prior to joining GOLF, James was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from.