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Canadian Open Day 3: Ogilvy on TGC, Weir's comeback, kudos to the Abbey

weirYesterday began bright and early, with my appearance with Leslie Roberts on Global’s morning show to talk about the Canadian Open. You can see it here.

I also wrote about Luke Donald, Ernie Els and others as they talked about Glen Abbey. They were all quite gracious — no bitching about the state of the course or how disappointed they were in it. In fact that’s largely disappeared in the last few years, which is nice.

Finally I wrote about Mike Weir’s continued comeback. He’s in a tough spot, especially with the FedEx Cup playoffs upcoming — which Weir isn’t it. That might force him into the Web.com qualifying tournaments — or decide to use his final all-time money list exemption. It is a tough spot.

I asked Weir about Laval, the course he created with Ian Andrew, and its chances of hosting the RBC Canadian Open:

That would be really cool.  I hope it happens.  I’m proud of the golf course.  We had a grand opening in May there and came through the winter nicely, and a lot of the changes being made kind of came to fruition how I envisioned them happening, especially around the greens and the green complexes.

So to see it play kind of how Glen Abbey is playing right now, firm and fast, is how I envisioned it playing for a Canadian Open.  We’ll see how the course would play.  That would be great.  I’d love to see it happen.

There’s been a lot of talk about Canadian Open venues beyond 2014, when it will head to Royal Montreal. I’ve seen discussion about Coppinwood, Shaughnessy and Laval — which makes sense.

However, any discussion is premature — largely because there could be a date change in 2015. The two dates that make sense would be the FedEx Memphis date and the AT&T July date, both of which come with issues. FedEx might not want to step away from Memphis and the AT&T often falls on July 4. That tournament struggles already to draw a field beyond what the Canadian Open has — so why would it be better? It would be a big bet just for a shot to draw Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson, with no guarantee either would come.

Truthfully I also wonder about the optics of picking Coppinwood, especially when owner Paul McLean will be the president of Golf Canada soon. Or maybe he’d donate the course as a service to golf in Canada — now that would be interesting. However, I suspect Paul and his partners, who reacquired the course recently, would like a return on their investment and doing the Canadian Open for free wouldn’t be part of that.

That said, I don’t know why other courses in the GTA wouldn’t be considered — namely Eagles Nest north of the city, Beacon Hall in Aurora and even Mississaugua G&CC near Glen Abbey. And what about heading back to St. George’s?

Needless to say I don’t think this is a done deal — despite what some are saying. And notice RBC hasn’t said anything about it? Their silence speaks volumes.

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Ran into Geoff Ogilvy on course yesterday and had a good conversation about his round at Toronto GC on Tuesday. He loved the place, and had plenty of questions about Martin Hawtree’s recent redo. He’s encountered some of Hawtree’s work in Australia, where he currently has a design business with Mike Clayton. He says there is at least one really interesting design possibility for the pair — but like most new golf courses, there are some hiccups to overcome.

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Seriously Robert?? Should the ownership of Coppinwood have any bearing on where the RBC Open is played? I think not. Coppinwood would be a terrific venue and the owner (regardless of their position) should be entitled to the same fee paid to the other host courses.
    I see you have Eagle’s Nest as a candidate. I for one find this suggestion ludicrous (holes 6 and 7 on the front are simply too bad) however, I think we all understand your support and the reasons behind it.
    I concur with the Beacon Hall site but Mississauga??? When were you last there?

  • Well, “J”, if someone involved with Golf Canada owns a candidate as a Canadian Open venue, there is a potential conflict of interest. Any business person, and many who are not, knows that. It’s all about perception. Robert is right about that and you are wrong. As for Mississauga Golf and Country Club, I grew up in Toronto but never had the pleasure of playing Mississauga. So, after your comment to Robert about Mississauga, “When were you last there?”, I went to their website and took a look. Mississauga is 7,105 yards long with a rating of 73.9, a slope rating of 140, and par of 72. In contrast and as an example, Oak Hills, where the PGA is being played, is 7,147 yards long with a rating of 76.9, a slope rating of 147, and par of 70. Now, I would wager that by lengthening Mississauga slightly and making it par 70, the rating and slope rating would be the equivalent of Oak Hills, a major host venue. So, you tell us, what is wrong with Mississauga? I suspect you are like many other Canadians and that the problem with Mississauga is that, though of similar rating and built in an old stand forest like Oak Hill, it’s about 50 miles too far north for anyone with the great Canadian inferiority complex.  Just like a myriad of other courses in Canada. As for Eagles Nest, I haven’t played it but, you know, I always try to do the research before shooting my beak off. So, I went to their website and looked at holes six and seven. What’s wrong with them so as to make the suggestion that Robert’s inclusion of Eagles Nest on a list of potential venues is “ludicrous”? Why are these holes “simply too bad”? I don’t get it. So how about explaining it if in fact there is any sensible explanation? Several years ago, I played at Pebble Beach. With a 10 or 12 handicap at the time, I got to the 17th tee box needing a par and bogey on the last two holes to shoot 84. I put my tee shot on 17 in the steep faced bunker protecting the green and took a seven instead of a four, shooting 87 instead of 84. While Pebble Beach is in a wonderful setting and it is a nice course, a world top ten, are you kidding me? I can only imagine, but if Eagles Nest had been around at the time, I’m sure my score would have been higher there. And by the way, the course I play at in Calgary, Country Hills, just hosted a Canadian Tour event where the winning score was minus 17 with the course set up at par 72.  At par 70, the winning score would have been minus 9. At Oak Hills with two rounds left, the leading score is already minus 9. So, I guess in any comparison of courses, we would have to argue about the quality of the players leading or winning both tournaments. However, Ryan Yip qualified for the U.S. Open but finished a long way back in Calgary. Anyway, I apologize for the long winded post, but someone needs to tell the truth about Canadian golf courses in a way that is unobscured by the insecurities often found amongst Canadian golfers and fans.

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