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Canadian Open ready to go — 50 stories to watch in Ancaster

Well, with the exception of a Monday qualifier, the field is set for the Canadian Open. It isn’t a bad list and includes:

  1. Tommy Armour III: Had one of his best recent finishes in 2003 and went on to win soon afterwards.
  2. Stephen Ames: Players Championship winner has been solid throughout the year. Hamilton should set up well for him.
  3. Paul Azinger: Since his broadcasting career seems to be winding down with the new TV deal, Azinger appears ready to wind down his playing career as well. One last stop at the Canadian Open?
  4. Aaron Baddeley: Remember when Badds was the new Tiger Woods? It last all of 10 seconds, but he finally seems to have established himself in North America.
  5. Chris Baryla [CAN]: He’s Monday qualified his way into a bunch of Nationwide Tour events this year, including a Top 5 finish this past weekend. Everyone is talking about James Lepp, by my money is on the kid from Vernon.
  6. Henrik Bjornstad – first Norwegian to make the Tour.
  7. Jonathan Byrd: Hasn’t played much in 2006, but still has three top 10s.
  8. Mark Calcavecchia: Defending champ. Won’t happen again at Hamilton.
  9. Stewart Cink: Ryder Cupper coming off a strong showing two weeks ago.
  10. Ben Crane: The Mike Hargrove of golf.
  11. Ben Curtis: British wasn’t a fluke, it turns out.
  12. John Daly: My prediction: JD withdraws on Friday to sign breasts in the parking lot.
  13. Chris DiMarco: Another Ryder Cup type.
  14. Steve Elkington: Funniest man in golf.
  15. Bob Estes: Two runner up finishes this year…
  16. Brad Faxon: Fax is at the end of his career, but he loves Hamilton and played well there in 2003.
  17. David Frost: Former Canadian Open winner now better known as an analyst on the Golf Channel and a wine maker.
  18. Fred Funk: He’s 50, but still playing well on the PGA Tour.
  19. Jim Furyk: #3 in the world. Nough said.
  20. Bill Haas: A mixed year for the son of Jay, but a great swing and tons of potential.
  21. Todd Hamilton: Now forgotten British Open champ at Troon.
  22. Charles Howell III: One good finish does not make a good year.
  23. Trevor Immelman: A huge year playing full-time on the PGA Tour. One to watch at Hamilton.
  24. Zach Johnson: A Ryder Cupper looking for a good week.
  25. Ian Leggatt [CAN]: Needs a good week to keep his card.
  26. James Lepp [CAN]: The real deal or just a lot of hype?
  27. Frank Lickliter II: Remember when this guy was considered one of the game’s best? Seems like a long time ago.
  28. Peter Lonard: Talented Aussie having an average year.
  29. Hunter Mahan: One of the best swings in golf. Hasn’t broken through yet, but I suspect it is only a matter of time. One to watch in Hamilton.
  30. Billy Mayfair: A nice story…
  31. Jon Mills [CAN]: Looks like he’s heading back to Nationwide. Needs a good week.
  32. Ryan Moore: A superstar in the making. The new Sean O’Hair.
  33. Sean O`Hair: That great 2005 year seems a long way away.
  34. Mark O`Meara: Two words: Champions Tour.
  35. Arron Oberholser: Breakthrough year. Hamilton should set up well for his game.
  36. Jesper Parnevik: Once considered among the best in the world. Comes to Ancaster having missed five straight cuts.
  37. Corey Pavin: Ryder Cup assistant captain.
  38. Carl Pettersson: Another player with a big year already behind him. As of this writing, he’s been left off the European Ryder team.
  39. Nick Price: Nice guy, but does he even still play golf?
  40. Justin Rose: Playing well in Boston this week.
  41. Jim Rutledge [CAN]: Set to become oldest ever rookie on PGA Tour.
  42. Rory Sabbatini: Headcase.
  43. (a) Richard Scott [CAN]: Three time CanAm champ. The real deal or just in Canada?
  44. Joey Sindelar: Always plays well at CanOpen.
  45. Vijay Singh: Always plays in Canada. Should get more credit than he receives.
  46. Vaughn Taylor: Ryder Cupper
  47. Bob Tway: Won at Hamilton last time.
  48. Camilo Villegas: Some thought he might not come even though he’d said he’d be in Hamilton to play. Cooled significantly after his great start to the year.
  49. Bubba Watson: The new John Daly. Hits the ball a ton (avg. 320), but hasn’t played that well in the second half of the year.
  50. Mike Weir [CAN]: Didn’t play well at Hamilton last time and sulked a lot in front of the press. Seemed confused at why the media wanted to speak with him given that he was well down the leaderboard, even though he had won the Masters. Tons of pressure on him this week.

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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.

3 CommentsLeave a comment

  • In my opinion, any win by the following will be great exposure:

    Weir – ‘nough said
    James Lepp, Richard Scott, Jon Mills – Future of Canadian professional golf
    Furyk, Di Marco – high world rank with added bonus of being in Ryder Cup
    Trevorman, Badds – young and exciting looking for second win
    Villegas, Bubba Watsons – yound, exciting, and popular looking for first ever win
    Nick Price, Azinger, or Elkington – wiry veterans showing they still got it

  • Weir was 10th in 03, but did play poorly.
    Caddied for Richard Scott yesterday..what a great guy and someone we should all look out for.

  • Let the list begin of those who are no longer coming, at least according to the field published at pgatour.com. When I checked now, there is no:

    John Daly
    Chris DiMarco
    Ben Crane

    Daly had to WD from the BMW International in Germany last Thursday with a GI virus so this may not be a big surprise, though it may disappoint Robert as this is so early to be gone!

    More disappointed in DiMarco, though it would appear the big guns to watch will be Furyk and Singh, along with Cink, Weir and Ames. The players sure won’t mind no Tiger as it means at least someone else will win this week.

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