2018 RBC Canadian Open Denial

It isn’t often that I use the pages of my website to vent or complain. But in this situation I’m going to do just that.

The RBC Canadian Open… My nation’s National Open is a few weeks away from happening. Recently, it was announced that our national championship was going to see it’s “field purgatory” (currently follows The Open Championship directly afterwards) changed to be a week before the U.S. Open. A very welcome change. While they’ve managed to attract some big names to the field (Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson and Brandt Snedeker to name a few) you’d never see a guy like Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose or Jordan Spieth in the field no matter how many RBC (Royal Bank of Canada) dollars they’re offered. So maybe, there’s a slight chance that the date change helps. Who really knows?

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The best that I can do from outside the ropes.

This year,  I find myself very disappointed with the RBC Canadian Open and their governing Golf Canada. The tournament has been held within 55 minutes of my front the last couple of years at one of Mr. Jack Nicklaus’ signature golf courses. Glen Abbey. A golf course that’s been on “death watch” the last several years. Apparently, Oakville the city where Glen Abbey is located is in dire need of more million dollar condominiums (of course I say this very facetiously). So maybe this is Abbey’s “Swan Song”. Next year, the tournament will be held in an even closer location… Hamilton Golf and Country Club. So being semi-local I applied for media credentials which were unceremoniously denied. As much as I’m disappointed I’m more mad than anything. Disappointment is not getting badges for The Masters. When I asked for an explanation for the denial from the Manager of Media and Public Relations (Terry Lenyk) I was given this explanation…

After evaluating the content you’ve produced available on your website, including the content you produced from the 2017 RBC Canadian Open, we deemed that you did not require access granted to media with appropriate working credentials and that you could successfully complete your coverage by joining us as a patron or attending on Tuesday, which is a complimentary admission day.

All the best,

Terry

So am I so good that I don’t need the same access as other websites and publications? Or is this simply a lame copout?

Between this site, Alexander Toth Golf and heavy involvements with other golf communities in the past (Nicklausfan on THP, GolfWRX and Golfballed) I’m not exactly new to this. I’ve been on my own since 2012 Moreover, I take great pride in writing a ton of content heavy in originality. Even with press releases I write my own material in support of the releases (Ralph Lauren re-signing JT was a rare exception). I have zero experience with the brand). In essence, I’m not a hack blogger that copy and pastes everything that wants free access to a golf tournament. I’m legitimate.

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Some legends there. How can I get press conferences without credentials?

All that I wanted to do this year was simply provide more up close and intimate coverage for my worldwide audience. I was hoping to get some stellar “In The Bag” pics. Or better yet a chance to interview a player or caddie or two. Last year, Mr. Nicklaus was on hand and I know that having media credentials might have allowed me to get a little closer and get better pictures than the rubbish I managed to take through heads and bad angles. I cannot achieve any of this as a patron. Instead, the guys will think that I’m just another “autograph hunter”. Stephen Ames, I will never forget the look you shot me as you refused to sign my pin flag (2004?) and ignored it after making direct eye contact.. You deserved your trouncing at the hands of Tiger in “that Match Play” back then. Remember that?

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The best I could do. People like to see a phenom like Bubba. Because the practice grounds at The Abbey are so NOT fan-friendly.

The funny thing about last year. I remember seeing guys from GolfWRX and MyGolfSpy inside the ropes doing exactly what I wanted to do. Again, the little fish gets screwed. I’m sure this piece doesn’t help my chances either moving towards 2019 either. A shame to cut off a local guy at the knees.

Until The Next Tee!!

 

This and That!!! (Volume 3)

According to my calculations this is the third installment of an article that I simply titled “This and That”. I honestly don’t remember what said article was about but I do know that something cheesed me off so I wrote about it. In this installment I’m going to get a few things off of my chest.

Recently, I was asked why is it that I’m so hard on Tiger Woods bordering on the point of hate. The greatest player to have ever played the game. I feel this is the best outlet and time to discuss it. First and foremost I just wanted to clarify that I don’t hate Tiger Woods. I have never had a talk with him and therefore I don’t know him. Yes, he really comes off as arrogant and elitist but that is what I see and I am entitled to my opinion.. I don’t how he interacts with children or elderly people. But there is a certain air about him isn’t there? Is he the kind of guy that would give you the shirt off of his back? I’ll never know. I get it… to his legions of fans that fact doesn’t even matter… or at least I assume that it doesn’t.

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Photo Credit: cbssports.com

But there are some things about Tiger that I do hate. The first thing is that I hate the choices that he’s made. I spoke about that before within these pages. There’s absolutely no excuse for driving under the influence whether it’s prescribed medications or alcohol and there is no explanation that forgives it. To be honest, I don’t care what he did or didn’t do during his marriage to Elin Nordgren. Of course, I am referring to his act of indiscretion (or two), Hey, it’s his life right? The media and how they handle/treat him. This really bugs me. Especially the  Golf Channel most notably and how they gush about him. I get it…. Tiger did a lot for golf  but not in the sense of what Mr. Palmer did. What Tiger has done for golf was bring people to the golf course or driving range who otherwise may not him. He had his name on a very popular game for consoles further immersing youth and old alike in golf. Viewers and broadcasts love him and in particular the ratings that he brings. Ratings that  in all likelihood Golf Channel wouldn’t have. But we don’t need to hear about every time he swings a golf club or what he has for breakfast and so on. Did you know that tere were other players in the event? Did you know that Kevin Chappell was leading? When Tiger is involved directly with the game or an event there is a certain buzz that envelops said event. Look no further than the recent President’s Cup. Tiger is great for the golf industry and he brings attention to a game that is much maligned.

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Photo Credit: golfweek.com

As everybody and their uncle knows Tiger teed it up this week at his event (Hero World Challenge). An event with a field of 18 players most of which are among the game’s elite. In typical fashion during the days leading up to the event all that you saw was Tiger here… Tiger there. It’s understandable… because it was huge. It was a comeback and one that felt different and the masses soaked it all in. Heck, there were some pictures circulating on social media that bordered on creepy. Pictures taken from behind bushes. you know the typical stalker-type. Pictures that were ominously close to being labeled as sociopathic. As I said, this time around the comeback felt different. His swing didn’t look hesitant like in other returns from injury etc. He looked good and I’m the first to say that and give Tiger credit where credit is due. He played well.. real well in fact. He was right there near the top of the leaderboard for a bit. That in itself is great to see and love him or hate him you never want to see a guy struggle or be a shell of their former selves. Whether you’re a “golf fan” or a “Tiger fan” (and there is a difference) it can only be good for our struggling sport. It’s sort of strange for me to see him playing TaylorMade Golf equipment and Bridgestone Golf Tour B XS balls. I don’t even look at the 75 that he shot on Saturday when looking back at his return. He played well period! All that I say now is just let him play golf when he decides to play and nature will take its course.

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My GOAT (Photo Credit: arnoldpalmer.com)

A couple of other things real quick. A reference has been thrown around a ton. The reference of which I speak is a type of livestock. Goats! Otherwise known as the greatest of all time. Many say that Tiger is THE G.O.A.T. and to me I feel that he isn’t. I feel that Tiger is by far the greatest of my generation without question but he isn’t the G.O.A.T. Many factors weigh in to somebody being the G.O.AT. For me it just isn’t about stats or victories. There’s more to being a champion on the course, the field or the rink. Maybe to a rabid Boston Bruins fan Wayne Gretzky isn’t the GOAT when it comes to hockey. Maybe to that fan it’s Bobby Orr.  To me there’s a hidden variable to being a GOAT. That variable is how someone was or conducts themselves in life. Everybody has an opinion and that’s what makes debate fun. Each individual has a reason why (to them) somebody is the GOAT. To me when I look at the greats Tiger is there. But then again so are Bobby Jones and Jack Nicklaus seeing that his statistics speak for themselves. For me the greatest of all time was Arnold Palmer. Not just for his 93 total victories which included 7 Majors. But he was a champion at life. He was a champion off of the course. To me that makes him THE G.O.A.T!

Another thing that has my hackles up. Golf balls! This entire bifurcation thing”. It isn’t going to work and unless you’re playing on the PGA Tour you don’t really need to worry about it. I’ll stick to my guns and what I wrote last week or whenever it was. Water the crap out of the fairways, narrow the fairways, grow the rough out and firm up the greens. I know there’s a crusade about water conservation. But again my idea only affects Tour courses and the weeks leading up to an event. Sure the member’s at courses that host an event would have it tough for a bit but it’s an easy payoff to lessen the chances of making your 7,300 yard golf course look like a pitch ‘n’ putt and yielding mini-putt scores. Protect the architects!

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Photo Credit: Golf Digest

Long putters! People are bashing Bernhard Langer, Scott McCarron and Adam Scott. Scott because he’s reportedly going back to a long putter.  Langer and McCarron because people feel that they’re breaching the rule (anchor ban) and cheating. I hate long putters and I’ve tried them. They aren’t for me. But if they were automatic everybody would use them. When it comes to the Tour. I think it should be clear. No use… period! Which gets me to the equipment and golf balls for the run of the mill hack… like me! Use whatever you want. Use what makes the game fun for you and gives you the best results. Use a 53″ long driver or a belly putter. Use irons that don’t conform to the groove rule if you wish. If you aren’t playing in a sanctioned RCGA, USGA or R & A event then don’t worry about it. These rules affect only a miniscule percentage of the world’s golfers. If the curmudgeon that you’re paired with on the first tee gets their knickers in a bunch about your equipment… Screw ’em! Just get on the course, play golf and have fun!

Until The Next Tee!!

My… RBC Canadian Open

There was no way that I was going to let this week’s Tour stop pass by without writing about it. Sure I didn’t write about the Open Championship last week but what was there to really say? Two words? Jordan Spieth. That pretty much summed it up… his “hootspa” is borderline legendary or better yet special. I really felt bad for Matt Kuchar. But enough about last week and it’s time to write about this week.

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Welcome To “The Abbey”

Our National Championship is on a very tough place on the schedule and I really wish something could be changed. There is prestige and a rich history when it comes to Canada’s Open. However as it stands it’s right after The Open Championship and right before The WGC – Bridgestone Invitational so many notables tend to sit out. This year the RBC Canadian Open was held in nearby Oakville, Ontario which serves as a home to Golf Canada headquarters, the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame, and the Jack Nicklaus designed Glen Abbey Golf Course. The site of this year’s RBC Canadian Open. This year was the 28th time that “The Abbey” has hosted the illustrious event. #OurOpen is uniquely Canadian with goalie mask tee markers and chairs that say “Quiet Eh?!” on the back of them.

 

 

 

I was at the venue to get a feel for what the course was like this year after last year’s tough conditions. In 2016 our entire region was mired in a drought of epic proportions and even Glen Abbey fell victim. I arrived at the course shortly after 8 a.m. on Tuesday to take in some practice rounds. As I arrived at the site and walked through the main entrance I caught a glimpse of Hole#8 where Charley Hoffman was hitting a few shots. It was completely obvious that the weather had been much better than last year and as a result the grounds crew at “The Abbey” had a course well-prepped. After taking in some of the Opening Ceremonies which saw legends gather for the newest inductions into the Canadian Hall Of Fame I walked the golf course. By the way some of the names on hand included Lorie Kane, Mike Weir, Bob Vokey (whom until recently I never knew was a Canadian) and Mr. Jack Nicklaus.

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Greatness and a Legend. Mr. Nicklaus and Mr. Vokey.

As I strolled across the 16th fairway I finally realized how lush and pristine Glen Abbey truly was. The course was immaculate!! A job well done to the superintendent and the crew. Upon looking at the course I knew that we were going to be seeing some low scoring rounds. Upon finishing my walk around “The Abbey” (I have never played it) I decided to watch the guys on the range. From the long hitting Bubba Watson, the young gun Smylie Kaufman to the wiley veteran (and former RBC Canadian Open Champion Vijay Singh) to last year’s champion Jhonnotan Vegas whom I casually said “Go get it again” to in passing. Little did I realize that my semi-prognostication would turn out. Honestly, I was disappointed to not see Ian Poulter, Matt Kuchar or Brandt Snedeker whom were apparently at another local course for a corporate outing. I managed to get a few failed selfies (tough with DSLR cameras) with Shane Lowry, Ollie Schniederjans, Nick Watney and Ben Crane to name a few. By the way… Ben is a pretty cool cat.

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The author and Ollie Schiederjans

So the tournament was played and as I figured we saw some real low scoring throughout the tournament. The weather was comfortable, the winds were pretty much benign all week and from I could ascertain the greens were receptive. Robert Garrigus tied a course record with a 62. Hudson Swafford fired a -7 (65). Martin Flores had back to back 66’s, Charley Hoffman was the 54 hole leader after a -7 on Saturday getting him to -17 overall. Then came Sunday.

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Bubba Watson unleashing on the range.

A leaderboard that was loaded with scores that would win nearly every tournament on Tour. With many big names not in the field (more on that later) there was still some star power on the front page of the leaderboard. Consistent low rounds were shot all week by the rain-softened Glen Abbey. On Sunday Gary Woodland, Ian Poulter, Tony Finau were all right there. Lurking not too far behind them was World #1 Dustin Johnson. But after carding four round totals of -21 a playoff consisting of Vegas and Charley Hoffman would determine the winner. After both players hit poor drives on the first playoff hole Charley Hoffman left the door open for Jhonny Vegas. Vegas took advantage of a clear shot while Hoffman had to lay up. Vegas would sink a birdie putt and become the first winner to win back to back titles since Jim Furyk. (Fun Fact: Furyk’s back to back wins were won on two different courses)

With the re-cap out of the way I just wanted to touch on a few other topics very briefly.

All of these crazy low scores. Are they good or bad for the game? What is the cause of these lower scores? Better player development… better technology… better equipment or does the ball need to be dialed back like Mr. Nicklaus has suggested? Are the superintendents doing too good of a job?

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The 18th at The Abbey.

To those not in the know Glen Abbey has been on life support for what seems an eternity. Before I get into that I want to say that it would be shame if the Jack Nicklaus course would fall victim to real estate. While this isn’t a Golf Canada issue it is a ClubLink Enterprises Limited owned golf course. The CEO K. Rai Sahi confirmed in 2015 that The Abbey was going to be developed into high-end housing. But how did the course get to here? Makes you wonder about the pricing (current peak Green Fee $236) and quite possibly a tee sheet that is more empty than full. That said… Glen Abbey WILL once again be the host of the RBC Canadian Open in 2018.

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#TheRink Oh what could be???? The Par 3 7th.

As far as Golf Canada this inquiry is for you. Glen Abbey sees the course get reconfigured from its everyday configuration to an altered configuration for the tournament (For example… Hole #1 is a Par 5 every day. For the Canadian Open it’s the Par 4 8th hole). This year #TheRink was a terrific idea. Potentially this hole could be as exciting as #16 at the Waste Management Open. We are a fanbase that consists of raucous hockey fans… wouldn’t it be fun to figure out a way to see #TheRink come into play late on Sunday? Somewhere in the last few holes? The drama and atmosphere would be spectacular! It would be a great way to get the fans (and their wallets) out there in full force. Think outside of the box. You can do it!

Until The Next Tee!!