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Canadian Open Wrap — Piercy outlasts the field

I can’t say I was hugely inspired by Scott Piercy or his win at the RBC Canadian Open. He seems like a nice guy, but he’s so low key and appears so lacking in enthusiasm that he’s hardly a compelling interview. Runner-up Robert Garrigus, on the other hand, was full of quippy quotes. Yes, folks, writers look for a winner who will give them something interesting to write about — and Garrigus’ off-the-cuff commentary, as well as the fact he was so full of enthusiasm for volunteers and spectators alike made him easy to root for. His remarks, like this one about Hamilton G&CC, were bang on:

Q.  If you look into the membership here at Hamilton, would you be disappointed about your score today?

ROBERT GARRIGUS:  No.  I’d embrace it.  I’d say these guys are the best in the world.  If the weather wasn’t the way it was, it would have been probably 12 to 13‑under.  Maybe less, because the rough was thick.  The fairways were running through the rough a lot.

I’d say a great tournament.  I appreciate the members having us out here, too.  It’s a great place.

Anyway, I wrote several things about the tournament. First off is my GlobalGolfPost column on Sean Foley’s relationship with Stephen Ames. My game story on Piercy’s win is here.

In my Sympatico column I wondered about when a lot of money on the PGA Tour maybe keeps guys from going all out to win:

When is second-place money at a PGA Tour event too much?

One has to wonder after the two golfers at the RBC Canadian Open simply shrugged off losing the tournament by a shot to Scott Piercy, both noting the $457,600 they were taking home was enough to lessen the blow from falling one shot short.

“I really should have been about 23-under, I think they way I hit it,” said Robert Garrigus after his final round that saw him a shot short of Piercy. Then came the qualifier: “I’m kind of frustrated by that, but it was a great week – I made a half a million bucks.”

The Hamilton Spectator looks at the tournament and gets tournament director Bill Paul’s remarks:

“I think it’s been a huge success,” said Bill Paul, tournament director with Golf Canada. “We had record crowds Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, we had fabulous crowds through Friday. I don’t have the numbers for Saturday and Sunday yet, but the sun’s shining, people are out, people are enjoying themselves. Inside the ropes, there’s great golf on a great golf course. What more could you want?”

 

Not everyone was so full of enthusiasm. Golf Digest looks at the event and wonders why the field isn’t stronger:

Why is all this important? It’s not, and that is the sadness. The Canadian Open has a longer and deeper history than any PGA Tour event, yet it generally is ignored by the game’s elite.

Matt Kuchar, ninth, was the only player in the field from the top 10 in the World Ranking. He and Hunter Mahan (13th) and Ernie Els (15th) were the only players from the top 20 in the field.

The winner was Scott Piercy (above), who was ranked 100th and outlasted runners-up William McGirt (303rd in the World Ranking) and Robert Garrigus (70th) to win by one. Piercy completed 72 holes in 263, equalling a tournament record that was set by Johnny Palmer in 1952.

The victory was his second in two years (he won the Reno-Tahoe Open in 2011), suggesting talent. But the combination of Piercy, Garrigus and McGirt vying on Sunday afternoon is a symptom of a tournament that has become a victim of the modern schedule.

The Canadian Open annually falls on the week after the British Open, the week before the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, and two weeks ahead of the PGA Championship. With the FedEx Cup playoffs following shortly, the Canadian Open has been crowded out of many elite players’ schedules.

The title sponsor, RBC, has done an admirable job of buttressing the field by signing to endorsement contracts a tour staff that ensures that a handful of recognizable names are entered each year. Els, Furyk and Mahan are all RBC clients and were in the field (though only Mahan made the cut and he finished tied for 48th. Luke Donald, another RBC client and the No. 1 player in the World Ranking, chose to pass.

 And the tallest midget award goes to Graham DeLaet:

Graham DeLaet was unable to hide his disappointment.

Sure, the native of Weyburn, Sask., had just finished as the top golfer from the host country at the 2012 RBC Canadian Open but felt T56 was hardly reason to celebrate.

“I guess it’s a nice consolation prize,” the 30-year-old told reporters after a second straight even-par 70 on the weekend left him with a 72-hole total of 278, 2-under par.

“We come in here with higher expectations than just trying to beat the Canadians,” DeLaet said of the 23 Canucks who started. “We want to beat everyone in the field.”

DeLaet, who had a solid rookie year on the PGA Tour in 2010 before missing most of last season after undergoing back surgery, was one of five Canadians to make the cut.

But after Canadians finished in the top-10 in the national open in three of the past four years, none here came close to ending the 58-year drought for a domestic champion.

Pat Fletcher in 1954 in Vancouver was the last Canuck to win the Canadian Open.

That’s my wrap — another Canadian Open, my 15th in the last 16 years. Next stop: Glen Abbey in 2013.

 

 

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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.

5 CommentsLeave a comment

  • It is painfully obvious that the Canadian Open needs a better date. With RBC now such a major sponsor of the PGA and a saviour of the Heritage, it is about time that RBC starts to exert their financial might to convince the PGA that this tournament deserves more. Lets go RBC, you have the clout, use it.

  • I think all Canadian golf fans agree Don. Ideally being part of the fed-ex cup finale would be great. Have to think the chances are minimal however.

  • Robert,

    Canadian golf journalist should hold themselves to a higher standard than choosing to be careless with the “tallest midget” references. The origin of it and the continued self-deprecation from a couple Canadian golf journalists is discourteous to more than just Canadian players.

  • I am usually not a big fan of the PC movement, but I agree with Zokol. Beyond being PC, the point is that being the best Canadian in a an event where we have invited the world to participate is significant. It is not as if it is easy to finish T56 in a PGA event, let alone one in front of your country. Well done to all (Canadians) who tried to qualify, to those who played, and to those who made the cut.

    As for the date, I wish the RCGA (sorry, that’s what it is) would man up and give the PGA the finger. While the field was decent, I still think it would be more impactful and respected on the Euro tour. Can it be worse than a Sunday of McGirt, Garrigus and Piercy? Hail our recent champions Nathan Green, Chez Reavie, John Rollins, Bob Tway 2.0, and Scott Piercy. I look forward to their Hall of Fame speeches. Why we bend down as a nation to the USA – jeez.

  • Does the Open Championship over its own version of the Rivermead Cup for the low Briton in that tournament? I don’t think so.

    By the way – who was the player that took the charter back a couple of years ago and then decided not to play in the Canadian Open. Didn’t he say “I owe you one?” Has he ever paid back the tournament?

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