Sneds probably doesn't agree...
Just Another Tournament?
By Torleif Sorenson on 7/29/13
On Sunday, the final day of the 104th Canadian Open Championship, the Toronto Sun published an editorial by Canadian golf writer Ian Hutchinson. Instead of a celebratory piece, he threw a bit of a "wet blanket" on the festivities.

Hutchinson thinks that the Canadian Open is "lost in a crowded landscape." Specifically...
"It's not that the birdie-fests [Graeme] McDowell describes aren't entertaining, but at the same time, an event once known as the fifth major often seems like a national championship because it's the only PGA Tour event in this country each year.

It isn't a major like the U.S. or British Opens and, because it's played on the heels of the British, the main priority is getting players to commit. Some point out that the marquee names who do show up are mostly RBC
[endorsing] guys, but so be it these days.

"If you want to get the most marquee guys possible, you don't give them a reason to not show up such as the deep rough at Vancouver's Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club two years ago that had players complaining."
Hutchinson also notes the emergence of the World Golf Championship events, specifically the former World Series of Golf event at Firestone in Akron, Ohio, as not helping the Canadians' cause.
"The Canadian Open does offer the chance for Canadians to play a home game and gives up-and-coming home boys exposure to the highest level of the game.

"Yet, with a World Golf Championship, the PGA Championship and the FedEx Cup playoffs on the near horizon, it won't stand out, just blend in or even be overshadowed considering all the tournaments that go before it as well.

"What was regarded as the fifth major on the PGA Tour years ago is lost in a crowded landscape."
In fact, almost nobody remembers Tiger Woods' 2000 season for winning the "Triple Crown" (the U.S. Open, the Open Championship, and the Canadian Open), mostly because (a) the Canadian Open is not considered a major championship and (b) the "Tiger Slam" (2000-2001) overshadowed his Canadian Open victory a bit. For the record, the last Canadian citizen to win the Canadian Open was English-born Pat Fletcher (1916-1985) in 1954; the only Canadian-born golfer to win was Carl Keffer in 1909 and 1914.

Canada's highest-profile golfer, Mike Weir, finished this week tied for 49th. And while the Sarnia, Ontario native has not won the Canadian Open, Weir did the next best thing by winning the Air Canada Championship outside Vancouver in 1999. In so doing, Weir became the first Canadian to win a PGA Tour event in Canada in 45 years, going back to Fletcher's 1954 Canadian Open victory.

It seems that the only way for Golf Canada and the PGA Tour to boost the prestige of the Canadian Open is to increase the exemption rewarded for winning, similar to winning the Player's Championship. Even then, the PGA Tour would still need to sweet-talk the USGA, the R&A, the PGA of America, and Augusta National Golf Club into offering extra years of exemption into their respective championships.

As much as this writer wishes the Canadian Open were considered more prestigious, I have the terrible feeling that Ian Hutchinson's point is well-made.

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[ comments ]
mjaber says:
Pity the WGC didn't latch onto a couple of these events, instead of creating new ones.
joe jones says:
In a way the writer is correct. When Lee Trevino won both the British Open and the Canadian Open it was considered the fifth major.The calendar is just overloaded with tournaments during what used to be called the "silly season".I'm not complaining because I would rather watch some of the young up and coming pro's than watching a made for TV event that is nothing but a exhibition. Since the development of The Golf Channel one can see tournament play from all over the world just about 24/7. We may be reaching a saturation point. At the same time golf participation by the public has declined. Probably a co-incidence but who really knows.
PKT says:
Scheduling the Canadian Open in a sandwich between the British Open and the WGC event in Akron, followed by the PGA, is a travesty. I agree with mjaber's comment - and would add that the 4 (four, count'em!) "playoff" tournaments have added unnecessary congestion to the calendar.
DougE says:
Didn't watch a second of the Canadian Open on TV this year. After watching the exciting Open last week, sometimes starting at 5 am right through until the end each day on the weekend, I just couldn't get interested in the Canada version. It had about as much appeal to me as one of the second tier PGA tournaments that take place on the same day as a Major....for all those guys who didn't make the Major field. I did read a little about the CO and peruse the results though, just to keep up on things.
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