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Canadian Open Final Round: O'Hair's Win, Hadwin's Victory

Adam Hadwin walks up the 18th hole today at the RBC Canadian Open.

A busy day and I’m just on the way to catch the red-eye home, but I still wrote 2,000 words on the final of the RBC Canadian Open before heading to the airport.

Impressions? The golf course set up made for a dull tournament. The long rough made it impossible to hit recovery shots, which in turn led to pitch outs instead of brave attempts to get to the green. That was the take of Luke Donald, Geoff Ogilvy and basically every other player I spoke with. There were few fans of the set up. If Golf Canada is anxious to test the patience of the best in the world a week after they are under trial at the British Open, well I think they could eventually drive players away.

Even the playoff — with both Sean O’Hair and Kris Blanks banging it into the rough and hacking it out before a bogey eventually won it for O’Hair — was also dry as toast. It was a suitable end to a tournament that wasn’t very interesting to watch, and by the sound of it, not very interesting to play.

I wrote about the final for Sympatico and Golfdigestcanada.ca.

First, Sympatico (full column here):

 

Sean O’Hair has spent much of this season searching for an answer to his struggles. He fired two caddies, and his Canadian swing coach  Sean Foley, but none of those changes helped ease his troubles. Coming into the RBC Canadian Open, O’Hair had missed four cuts in five starts, often only be a shot or two. He reached a low on Wednesday night, he said, when a reading about perseverance and faith convinced him to, in his words, “stay out of my own way.”

Persevere he did, surviving through a tough final round at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club to post 2-under par on a day when scores soared and the third round leaders seemingly wilted under the afternoon sun. He would eventually win a one-hole playoff against PGA Tour journeyman Kris Blanks.

“To be sitting here right now is unbelievable,” said O’Hair in the media room following his win.

“[I’ve been] struggling, fighting and really kind of lost. That’s the word for it – I was lost on Wednesday.”

The passage convinced O’Hair that he’d been trying too hard, that he had to have faith in his remarkable abilities as a golfer. His struggles made the win even more significant.

“I really appreciate what today was all about,” he explained. “I appreciated being there, being in the hunt. I was soaking things up a little bit more.”

 

My story for Golfdigestcanada.ca also focused on O’Hair:

VANCOUVER, B.C. – On Wednesday, Sean O’Hair said he was lost, struggling to find a solution to his faltering golf game. He hit a low that night, O’Hair said, when suddenly a bible passage led to an epiphany.

“Something inside me told me it’s time to let go and just let everything take care of itself,” he said. “Finally, I said, ‘You know what – it’s just time for me to just let go and whatever happens, happens.”

What happened was that O’Hair, who started the third round of the RBC Canadian Open three shots out of the lead, would fire a 2-under 68 to take a share of the lead, eventually bettering Kris Blanks in a one-hole playoff to win the tournament.

“To win a national title is very cool,” O’Hair said in the media room after his round. “It’s really cool to be sitting here holding the trophy up.”

 More on O’Hair’s win here.

 

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

18 CommentsLeave a comment

  • GolfCanada or the pgatour? My assumption was that the pgatour had *100%* control of the setup and the rcga had 0 to do with it. Maybe clarify this a little if you can.

    Of course, that being said, if it is 100%, how the hell did the rcga allow the tour to control the tournament.

  • G,

    The PGA Tour use to allow the RCGA more control over the Canadian Open than other tournaments because it’s our National Open. I don’t know if that’s still the case.

  • Typically the PGA Tour takes control over the tournament conditions and set up. But that is also part of the problem. PGA Tour officials don’t have a personal involvement with our national championship as Golf Canada or Canadian players do for this event. If it were left up to PGA Tour officials, they would make the course easier than it was and their job is to make sure everything runs smooth as possible and then get out of Dodge ASAP and then do it over again in the next town.
    Golf Canada wants to make this event distinct from other PGA Tour events and the set up at Shaughnessy proved they did a great job.

  • Ok, Ive found that the setup was agreed to upon by both Golf Canada and the Pgatour (Rob Barrs pre tourney video), then the pgatour ordered? the rough to be mown Friday night.

    I will agree with distinct, not so sure about great job though. Dont think its fun for the fans (both on tv or in person) just to watch pitch out golf. Yeah, it puts an emphasis on fairways hit, but also with Shaughnessys small greens, that should be its “defense”.

    As someone that lives close to Ancaster, I hope its not set up this way next year.

    • G – Ancaster doesn’t require the setup just used at Shaughnessy, however I found the event shown on TV was pretty exciting. Nice to see driving back in the game, and curving tee shots required. Tood bad Corey Pavin was in the UK, he would have won by 5.

  • “dull tournament”???

    You have got to be kidding.

    I see ScoreGolf doesn’t agree with you either…quote “the playoff finish was the icing on the cake of a thrilling tournament in Vancouver”

    What was the attendance, is your earlier threat that it probably won’t return to Vancouver going to come to fruition?

  • From what we saw on TV, the set up of the course allowed for come from behind charges and redemptions. Golf isn’t always about going for the green. Sometimes you’ve got to sit back and marvel at the way the PGA players recover.

  • I applaud Golf Canada in their efforts to achieve a National Championship that puts an emphasis on shot-making, rather than bomb and gouge, driver-wedge, putt for birdie. However, as RT stated, it was dull. I’m all for penalizing players (at this level) for missing the fairway, but the rough this week left players with zero option. Pitch out. If you dare try to go for the green (which are very small by tour standards at Shaughnessy, and were designed to be it’s defense) and miss by a foot, you are dead. Hit it and you’ll roll off the green, dead. Aim for the bunker for a good lie. Miss it and hit it in the rough, dead. Option A, B, and C? Pitch out, pitch out and pitch out…

    I like golf courses that provide options, and Shaughnessy is one of them. Just not this week.

  • There were a lot of guys not taking their medicine and pitching. They of course were left with difficult chip or pitch shots which lead to bogey or worse. I was surprised at the amount players who failed to adapt to the pitch out but then again, players are a lot more aggressive.

    The course isn’t super tight like Sahalee but if a player missed the slim first cut, he was done. Even if he muscled it out and it landed on the green, it wouldn’t hold and he was left with a delicate shot out of a cabbage lie.

    It would have been nice to see graduated cuts in the rough like Mike Davis and the USGA has been doing. That way if someone misses the first cut by 5-8 yards, he’s got a chance. From what I saw not many players missed the fairways by more than 10 yards and this would give them a chance to play a recovery shot to the green.

  • I would agree with Fairway Stevie and Steve. I liked the event and thought it was fun to watch. Unlike other events, the tee shots mattered a lot and it was great seeing.

    This is one time I’ll have to disagree with Robert’s view of this being a ‘dull’ event.

  • I thought the tournament was great. Good to see an event that is not won at minus 20. As for the rough if you don’t want to hit out of it then don’t go in, don’t try to hit the 300 yard shots off the tee but rather down the middle.

    Sorry Robert great event and fun to watch. The course really caught my interest, more than I can say about Angus Glen or for that matter Glen Abbey.

  • The tournament was a huge success.
    Evidently, the attendance was a record…over 100,000.

    Time for The Canadian Open to make a permanent rotation around the country with Ontario only getting it every 4 or 5 years.

  • Neo: Not sure if that is exactly the case — it might be a record for Shaughnessy, but that isn’t saying much since the last tournament was a disaster in terms of attendance. And they had an estimated 50,000 people on Sunday alone in 2000….

  • Neo,

    You’ll be pleased to know that is the intent.
    The only issue is whether the courses will take the event every five years.
    Most are reluctant to commit outside of the next event.

  • Ian A-Doesn’t the lease on Shaughnessy run out soon? If so, what are your thoughts as to the next course in the Vancouver area willing and able to host The Open?

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