Last month we had the U.S. Open, and last week we had the Open Championship. Now, it’s time for the Canadian Open! Sadly, this does not garner the same amount of excitement as the first two, but surprisingly the Canadian Open always brings in a strong cast of players. Perhaps it’s due to the history of the tournament – being the third oldest tournament continuously running on the PGA Tour (behind the two I already mentioned). Or perhaps it is because of the timing – this late in the season, golfers have few remaining opportunities to make their way up the FedEx Cup points list, the PGA money list, Ryder Cup/Presidents Cup team consideration, etc. It is do or die time in professional golf, and several professional golfers are well aware.
Like other Open championships, the Canadian Open is hosted on a rotational basis among several of the finest courses in the country to our northern border. This year, the pros will tee it up at the Blue Course at Royal Montreal. This tournament, as the name suggests, will feature several Canadian golfers, and not only those familiar names on the Tour (see: Mike Weir, Graham DeLaet, David Hearn), but also several making their way on the PGA Tour Canada. Recent winners include names like Brandt Snedeker, Scott Piercy, and Jim Furyk (back to back times). What hasn’t happened in 60 years, however, is a Canadian player being crowned the champion. In 2004, Mike Weir lost to Vijay Singh in a playoff that would have ended the then 50 year drought. Unfortunately, all signs pointed to a “Canadian curse,” as Weir bogeyed three holes down the stretch to stumble into a playoff. In it, he birdied the par 5 18th, matched by Singh, bogeyed the par 4 17th, also matched by Singh, and finally bogeyed the 18th while Singh saved par to officially hold the trophy out of Weir’s reach (which is funny in a sadly cruel way, given the vast height differences between the two players).
Could this be the year that the Canucks break the curse? DeLaet, struggling as of late, hopes that to be the case. So do Weir, David Hearn, Brad Fritsch (an intriguing pick coming off of a T13 at the John Deere), and the rest of the Canadians teeing it up on home soil. On the other hand, names like Matt Kuchar, Dustin Johnson, Jim Furyk, defending champ Brandt Snedeker, and Hunter Mahan (who led the tournament last year before withdrawing to attend the birth of his first child) all hope to deny the Canadians for at least another year. Only time, and hopefully lots of excitement, will tell as to what the tournament has in store. So be sure to tune in this Thursday through Sunday to find out. In the meantime, stay tuned for our predictions.