Tuesday, August 06, 2013


The RBC Canadian Open- A Final Look

The Professional Golfers’ Association has set up shop in Rochester, New York, this week. Last weekend, Tiger Woods again asserted himself, running away with the Grecian urn at the Bridgestone Invitational. The golfing world keeps track of its better players through a statistic called the “Fedex Cup”.


Players are allotted a certain number of points for their play at each PGA event. Because of his fine play this year, Woods leads the pack in the Fedex standings. At the end of the golf season, players pick up a little extra pocket money for their work, according to the standings. I believe the player who finishes first gets one million dollars, although it could be a zillion. At any rate, it is a way to determine which player had a good season.


The second and third players on the list are Matt Kuchar and Brandt Snedeker. As I am sure you are aware, Snedeker picked up a few points when he won the RBC Canadian Open. He was most grateful to Hunter Mahan after the tournament. Mahan led the tourney after two rounds, leaving two rounds to play. He got to Glen Abbey for his third round, only to discover that his wife was in labour back home.

                                                     Hunter Mahan, After Practice 

He made a very wise decision at that time. He packed up his gear and headed home. He left quite a few shekels on the table, considering that the winner in Oakville was to receive more than $ 1 000 000 for his efforts. No matter. Off he went, and was at the hospital when his wife presented him with a baby girl. Snedeker noted in his comments after the victory that he would be presenting that baby with a nice little gift, in due time.


Down the road, that will not be a decision that Mahan will regret. Without being too cynical, I am certain endorsements will more than compensate for the money he left in Toronto. And a legion of followers will join his ranks, as one of the good guys on the circuit.


There are a few fascinating plaques around the course at Glen Abbey. One of the plaques recognizes a particular shot made by Tiger Woods which led to his winning the Open several years ago. It was a six iron, I will have you know, plucked out of a fairway bunker, landing on the green.


Another plaque explains the name of the course. Glen Abbey is a relatively new course, developed in the 1960s. Originally, it was a private estate of 350 acres, including a fine stone mansion. Andre Dorfman had the keys, and he was a successful mining engineer. In 1953, he sold the estate to the Jesuit Fathers, who used it as a retreat for the men of the Toronto and Hamilton Dioceses. Thus the word “Abbey” was permanently associated with the site.


At that time, a group of businessmen took over the site and developed it into the Upper Canada Country Club. In 1970, another group took control, and hired golf legend jack Nicklaus to design a spectator-friendly, championship quality golf course as the permanent home of the Canadian Open. It opened in 1976, and hosted its first of 23 straight Opens in 1977. Next year the Open will be played in Montreal.


I attended a Canadian Open in London, Ontario, at the London Hunt and Country Club in 1970. The late Gary Bowerman, a pro from Belleville, played well that year, and was on the leader board heading into the final rounds. He finished in a tie for 22nd place, with George Knudson. Each received a little more than $ 1 100! Two other Canadian notables were also there: Gary Cowan and Al Balding.


In 1954, Pat Fletcher won the title at the Point Grey Golf and Country Club. He was the last Canadian to win the Canadian Open. Mike Weir tied for the title in 2004 at Glen Abbey, then lost in a playoff to Vijay Singh. Weir received almost half a million for his second place finish.


There are several other fine Canadian players on the circuit who could hoist the hardware some day: Graham DeLaet, David Hearn, Matt McQuillan, Adam Hadwin, Brad Fritsch, and Stephen Ames, to name a few. Belleville’s Jon Mills had a couple of respectable showings recently at the Open.


You may play through. Thanks!


August 6, 2013. 

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