Remember us? Yes, us golf fans in Canada who have gone without any sort of professional golf event for two years. For the PGA TOUR and the RBC Canadian Open which of course is put on by Golf Canada it was in fact over 1,000 days ago when our “National Championship” was last played. The last time that the event was played, it was won by Rory McIlroy. Come 2022, it feels like nothing has changed because Rory McIlroy successfully defended his crown from 2019. Congratulations Rory!!
The venue was a timeless design of renowned Canadian golf architect Stanley Thompson and ole St. George’s Golf and Country Club did not disappoint. The old gal delivered a fantastic Sunday finish and it goes to show you that if you have a course set up properly – not to be confused with stupid – you can have an entertaining event. Were you not entertained on Sunday?
The 2022 RBC Canadian Open was thrust into the limelight a little more than usual because of well… The other guys. You know that LIV Golf “thing”. They had their inaugural event this weekend too. For the record, when it comes to LIV Golf, my stance is that I’m “Switzerland”. Totally neutral.
Until recently, the RBC Canadian Open, was in a way, “left for dead” because the masterminds at PGA TOUR headquarters had Canada’s only PGA TOUR tournament (and national championship) perched precariously behind The Open Championship or The British Open, if you prefer. The scheduling really put the RBC Canadian Open behind the proverbial 8-ball. The fields were for the most part weaker than they should have been for an event as prestigious (yes, I said prestigious) as the Canadian Open. Travel east across the ocean, then to play under the stress of a Major, just to travel west back across to Canada was a lot to ask for. Not like they were going by steamship.
It’s sort of funny. I sat back and watched all of the drama unfold between loyal PGA TOUR fans and those remotely “for” the Saudi-backed LIV Golf venture. Heck, even players of the PGA TOUR were tossing barbs at players that were in London, England over the weekend playing at Centurion Club. Suddenly, like everything else in the world, golf had become polarizing and partisan. But, this piece isn’t about that.
Pundits were talking about the Canadian Open over social media and I feel like I have to offer some advice. Do research about said topic. Especially when it’s a golf topic with the historical significance of the Canadian Open. It’s only been contested for 118 years. What truly amazes me is the inability of these writers or influencers to read a room. Maybe it’s just a lax “laissez faire” attitude.
For example, there’s Dan Rapaport from Golf Digest who thinks that the RBC Canadian Open is in a “pretty good place”. Of course it is! Dan, I couldn’t agree more. We Canadians love golf. There hasn’t been professional golf on Canadian soil for two years. Not to mention, the event itself was being played in Canada’s largest city. Canadians are rabid golf fans. After all, we need something to do after we emerge from our igloos every spring. Not to mention old, decrepit hockey players (like myself) need a sport to satisfy our cravings for competition, when we get a little long in the tooth.
The players themselves were impressed with the support and enthusiasm (some of it unbridled) from the spectators in attendance. Some suggested raucous. Raucous? Canadians? No way! We’re Canadians and we’re very conservative as quiet as a “church mouse”. Justin Thomas joked after his third round about buying a house in Toronto. Justin, look into The Muskoka’s or Kawartha’s instead. You’ll thank me later.
While the players were hyping up the event and the fans. I couldn’t help but feel as if some of it was feigned though. Somehow the Canadian Open got stuck in the middle of something a little bigger. Deeper. Comparisons were being drawn to the crowd sizes and atmosphere versus the LIV Golf event. At one point, I saw a comparison between concession stands too. If there was any chance to take a potshot at LIV Golf, it was taken. Now, the RBC Canadian Open was in the spotlight right where it should be, when it’s being played. Although, would it have garnered the attention had it not been being played opposite the LIV Golf event?
Other comments from players and fans were comments like “it feels like a Major”. Well of course it did and I cannot drive this point home enough. It’s a national open!!!! It should feel like a Major. The way that the golf course was set-up had a bit of a “Major Vibe” to it. Much of it having to do with St. George’s Golf and Country Club, itself.
Congratulations to the Golf Course Superintendent and his agronomy team for a job well done. Honestly, as star-studded as the leaderboard was on Sunday, the golf course itself was a star that shone far brighter. If you missed a fairway you were in penal rough. Rough should be penalizing. A price needs to be paid for a mistake from poor execution.
I feel like I should retract a sentiment from my previous article. In that article I said that I was angry and hated LIV Golf for having their inaugural event the same week as the Canadian Open. I take it back. I want to thank Greg Norman – who ironically is a past winner of the Canadian Open – for aiding us in giving our little event some exposure.
Just because this event takes place in Canada doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. It does and it’s a big deal. The Canadian Open has seen the names of winners like its first. John Oke in 1904 or other past winners which includes legends like Tommy Armour, Walter Hagen, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, and Tiger Woods… just to name a few. Can the Sanderson Farms Championship boast a history like that?
Until The Next Tee!!