History North of the Border, The RBC Canadian Open

by Jeff Skinner

This week the PGA tour moves to Ancaster, Ontario for The RBC Canadian Open.  Unfortunately the week after The Open Championship is a tough spot to fill on the schedule.  Due to the travel and the fact that it’s a major many pros opt to take the week off.   But The Canadian Open always seems to make do and does have an interesting field.

It’s not like this tournament doesn’t have some major league history, it does.  They started playing this tournament in 1904 and all the biggest names of each era have tried their luck north of the border.

The past champions of the Canadian Open are quite an impressive list: Walter Hagen, Tommy Armour II, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Doug Sanders, Billy Casper, Tom Weiskoph, Lee Trevino, Greg Norman, Curtis Strange, Nick Price, Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk and Vijay Singh.  In fact it was Arnie’s first win as a professional and cashed a check for $2,400.

An amazing list indeed, but you won’t see Jack Nicklaus’ name on it.  Oh, he tried many times to win here but had his best chance “stolen” from him in 1984.  Greg Norman had hit a drive way right which was normally out of bounds.  But the white stakes had been removed when they used the area for a parking lot.  Norman got to play it from the parking lot, made bogey instead of double and beat Nicklaus by a stroke.  That’s one that got away from the Golden Bear.

The course has a bit of history also.  The Hamilton Golf and Country Club was established in 1894 and in 1914 they paid world renowned golf course architect Harry S. Colt to design their course.  And it still is ranked as one of the best in Canada.

Despite its poor week on the schedule there is still a good field of golfers ready to tee it up on Thursday.  Open Champion Ernie Els will be honoring his commitment as will Jim Furyk, Vijay Singh, Retief Goosen, Matt Kuchar, Charl Schwartzel, Rory Sabbatini, Trevor Immelman, Ben Curtis, Brandt Snedeker, Hunter Mahan and David Duval.  And for kicks we get another appearance by John Daly.

The Royal Bank of Canada, the RBC in the RBC Canadian Open has done a great job in enlisting some top notch players on their payroll.  This week they get the payoff.  It looks to be a good tournament.



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