I am a 47 year old that has pursued golf over the past several years. I've played on Mini-Tours and in one U.S. Open Qualifier. I have worked in different aspects of the golf industry. Became interested in golf after a chance meeting of Mr. Arnold Palmer when he was in Hamilton, Ontario for the PGA Canadian Senior Open in 1996. I had no idea then that this beautiful game would consume me and develop into one of my passions.
When the PGA TOUR announced the new schedule for 2019 last year I was excited more than you can imagine. As a golf fan did you know that our national championship (Canadian Open) is the second oldest championship in golf? There’s only one older and that’s the Open Championship (British Open).
The issue that I’ve had is the “homer” and patriotic Canadian that I am (yes we exist) has felt for a very long time that the Canadian Open got “screwed over” from the schedulers for the TOUR. Like our national championship was a second-rate event. Following on the heels of a Major championship like the Open Championship is a tournament committee’s nightmare. It becomes a little more difficult to get a star-studded field in line and had it not been for the title sponsor of the Canadian Open (RBC – Royal Bank of Canada) it makes you wonder if we would have still seen the likes of guys with “star power”. Among them Bubba Watson, 2018 Champion Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Matt Kuchar, and Brandt Snedeker to name a few.
One of the greatest golf shots ever struck happened at one of our Canadian Open’s. There’s likely a chance that every golf fan has seen it. Who remembers the infamous shot that Tiger Woods hit from the fairway bunker at the 2000 Canadian Open (then sponsored by Bell). That shot, to that pin over the water from 218 yards with a 6-iron in that situation was beyond comprehension. He returned in 2001 to defend his crown but I’m not certain that we’ve seen him play the Canadian Open since.
The reality is that nobody moves the needle like Tiger Woods. But news came today that could move the needle in a very Tigeresque way. The camp representing Rory McIlroy announced that Rory McIlroy will be playing the 2019 RBC Canadian Open when it’s contested at the venerable Hamilton Golf & Country Club in Hamilton, Ontario June 3-9. This will be his last tune-up event before the U.S. Open.
After several events where Rory looked like he was back this past weekend saw him breakthrough and win The Players Championship. It’s been a long time since I was that happy about a player winning an event. How good would it be for golf if he returned to the form that we know and love?
Rory… If you would ever do me the honour of reading what I have to say I just want you to know something. You have no idea what it means to me and my fellow Canadian golf fans that you’re playing in “OUR” tournament. The buzz that your appearance will generate I cannot even begin to express other than “WE” will welcome you with open arms. I will personally give you a bottle of the finest ceremonial bottle of maple syrup and a moose (which may not be real) that I can find. Shoot, I’ll treat ya to a pint and an order of Poutine. In return, I ask nothing… Maybe a selfie. Damn, I haven’t been this excited in a very long time.
Rory’s presence alone has made this move such a great thing. Who knows… maybe some other big guns or big cats” will join the party in my “home and native land”.
Until The Next Tee!!