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Canadian Open weekend: Watson, Weir and the players to watch

watson2As I prepare for my spot on Global’s pre-game show today, which airs between 2 and 3, I thought I’d note some of the writing I’ve worked on in recent days. Also worth noting is Brad Fritsch withdrew this morning with a back injury after stepping in a hole yesterday. He said the back hurt at impact and he had treatment on it to no avail. He seemed pretty disappointed, which isn’t surprising.

On Thursday I wrote a story about Bubba Watson’s Canadian connection:

It is a long way from Bagdad, Florida to Pickering, Ont. No one knows that better than Bubba Watson.

Watson, the former Masters winner, has spent plenty of time in Pickering, a fact that would catch many unaware.

That’s because Watson’s wife, Angie, hails from the city, though she met the golfer while they were both at the University of Georgia.

And though once the RBC Canadian Open started today, Watson had checked into a local hotel, for the past few nights he’s been hanging with the in-laws in the Toronto suburb with Angie and their 17-month-old Caleb.

“It is like a home event and now they have the grandson,” says Watson. “They get to hang out with him. They let me be and play golf, but it is fun for me and I get to come back and be a part of the country for a little bit. We don’t get back much and with our schedules it is hard to get back here.”

weir_FriYesterday’s tale was about Mike Weir’s strong round, which was a couple of bogeys from being stunning. Weir hit 16 of 18 greens in the first round, but had 34 putts. Yesterday he had eight birdies, but three bogeys in the last four holes:

When Mike Weir rolled in a sliding putt on his 16th hole of the day at the RBC Canadian Open, those nearby could be forgiven for thinking the years had been rolled back and it was 2004 all over again.

It was nearly a decade ago that Weir, Canada’s most successful male golfer with eight PGA Tour wins, nearly won the Canadian Open at Glen Abbey Golf Club. This year, with the tournament returning to Glen Abbey, Weir lit up the course with a 5-under 67 that vaulted him up the leaderboard to 26th place at the end of play Friday. Only three bogeys late derailed what could have been a truly special round by Weir, the 2003 Masters winner.

“It was one of those rounds that could have been really anything,” Weir explained. “I could have been 10-under pretty easily I think. But I played great and it was exciting to do that for the fans.”

And finally here’s a story about the ones to watch this week — and I’d add Vijay Singh to that list:

There are still three Canadians in the field as the RBC Canadian Open comes to a conclusion this week, and despite a couple of big names missing the cut, there’s still plenty of top PGA Tour pros worth turning up to watch at Glen Abbey Golf Club.

While former world No. 1 player Luke Donald and Canadian Graham DeLaet struggled in missing the cut, there’s still plenty of the biggest names playing this weekend.

The Canadians – Mike Weir, David Hearn, Roger Sloan and Brad Fritsch

Eighteen Canadians started the week, only four remain. While a lot of attention will be on a resurgent Mike Weir, who is tied for 26th heading into Saturday, PGA Tour regulars David Hearn and Web.com player Roger Sloan could surprise some. Hearn, who nearly won two weeks ago at the John Deere Classic, will have to put together a good round amidst calm conditions early Saturday. The fourth player to make the cut, Manotick, Ont.’s Brad Fritsch, was forced to withdraw on Saturday with a back injury.

 

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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.

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