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Canadian Open: Finchem vs. the media; Weir on CanOpen rotation and other notes

Score’s Bob Weeks has plenty of commentary on RCGA executive director Stephen Ross’s meeting with the media this morning. Weeks seemed impressed by Ross’ remarks. Read about it here.

That said, Ross joined PGA Tour comissioner Tim Finchem for a press conference yesterday. Ross was relatively silent, but it didn’t take long for questions to come up about the move in the Canadian Open date.

Q. I’m just wondering with the long and cherished relationship between the RCGA and the PGA TOUR, why, granted it is a summer date, but why the Canadian Open ended up with an unattractive summer date?
COMMISSIONER TIMOTHY W. FINCHEM: Here again, you may think I’m posturing, I don’t think it is an unattractive date on the PGA TOUR.

Right. I don’t think any one is buying that. But don’t let me interrupt:

Finchem: There are relatively — there is, relatively speaking, ways you can compare dates as it flows in the schedule, but things are changing. I remember not too many years ago if you were — if you wanted to have the tournament before The British Open, that was ridiculous.

Still is, considering Tiger, Phil, Weir and most of the other top stars are already in the U.K. by that time…

Finchem: Well, the John Deere Classic is a solid tournament on the PGA TOUR. A lot of people watch it on TV, it generates significant amounts for charity.

But no players in the Top 30…

Finchem: We have good fields. If you are the week after The British Open, that doesn’t make any sense, either. Milwaukee has had some good tournaments here in the last few years.

Say what? Well, Milwaukee had one player — Kenny Perry — in the Top 30 in the world, and only a handful of golfers who played in Liverpool the week before. But Andy North stepped out of the broadcast booth and played, so I guess that’s what we have to look forward to.

Just when the jackals had stopped gnawing at that carcass, they switched gears on poor Tim W.:

Q. Tiger Woods came out recently andendorsed the idea of drug testing on the Tour. Is there any room for you to reconsider your position on that subject?

Wow, this should be interesting…

COMMISSIONER TIMOTHY W. FINCHEM: Well, my position has been so misconstrued. I’ve said several factors that we evaluate on a regular basis that could lead us to take a number of steps. But I don’t want to get into, in a press conference forum, answering specific questions on this subject.

No, I guess that wouldn’t make any sense at all…

Finchem: And the reason is that I’ve done that a couple of times earlier in the year and pieces of my answer get reported that seem to reflect a sense of what our policies are.
And this is a complex issue that has to do with
testing protocols and things that would be tested.
We’ve done, as I said last week, a lot of research
on what other sports are doing. We will, later this
fall, make a comprehensive statement about what
we are recommending to our board be done in the
area of substance, substance abuse and performance enhancing substances. I’d ask you to be patient, because I would much rather put in your hands a comprehensive statement so that you can report within the context of that statement and understand exactly what our thinking is, rather than answer piecemeal questions about it that get either reported in part or out of context.

Ouch. But the reporter is not to be beaten that easily…

Q. I know it’s a complex issue in some ways, but whether or not you have testing is fairly simple. Are you open to that?

That’s pretty clear and hard to take out of context…

COMMISSIONER TIMOTHY W. FINCHEM: It’s not simple. So if you just bear with us and we will be providing a comprehensive statement in just a few weeks for you. And then you’ll have an opportunity to answer any questions you want.

Not surprisingly, that was the last question. The commissioner has left the media tent!

Finchem’s transcript is here.

Canadian Press reporter Chris Johnston reports that Lee Janzen loves Hamilton G & CC.

Lee Janzen was struck by the simplicity. He stood on the first tee at Hamilton Golf and Country Club and was immediately taken with how little he saw in front of him.

There are a few bunkers on the left to protect the slight dogleg and thick rough on either side of the narrow fairway. And that’s it.

The two-time U.S. Open champion spends a lot of time designing courses and thinks all PGA Tour venues should be as nice as the one that’s hosting this year’s Canadian Open.

“It makes us wonder why golf courses can’t all be good,” Janzen said after playing here for the first time. “It’s not anything tremendous or earth-moving, it doesn’t have a million bunkers or lots of water or anything else.

“It’s a very simple design, yet it’s challenging and fun to play.”

Indeed it is. Still, the RCGA couldn’t have been too pleased about Mike Weir’s remarks on Tuesday that the tournament should be rotated through Hamilton, Shaughnessy and Royal Montreal.

Weir:

We have great golf courses across the country. I was discussing that the other day. There’s plenty of opportunity to use some of the golf courses we have across the country. And if we can get a little bit of money behind them. Sure, I know some courses don’t have the space to expand, but you can add 20 yards here, a little bit there. And you can make it so it that you can hold championships on some of these great courses. I have not had a chance to play a ton of them. Royal Montreal is really good. I haven’t played a lot at Calgary. But I know there are some great tracks out there. I see no reason why we can’t move them out west, as well, in Calgary and Edmonton area. I see it moving around. I see those three being the main three courses, Hamilton, the Shaughnessy, Royal Montreal it’s a good rotation to start. It’s a national championship, that’s what I think we should be playing on.

What, no Terrebonne, Glen Abbey or Angus Glen? Heresy!

Mike’s full interview is here.

But the true hilarity apparently ensued in the Stephen Ames press conference on Wednesday. Tough questions were brought out and thrown Ames’ way:

Q. This isn’t a question, but vote in the next election, I’m
you feel very happy?
STEPHEN AMES: Excuse me?

Excuse me indeed. Please continue…

Q. You can vote in the next election?
STEPHEN AMES: Thanks.

Next question. Oh, and here comes another fly ball right out of left field…

Q: You’re 31 now, and there’s got to be on a certain day
when your game is just on, you’ve got to be able to just —
STEPHEN AMES: Did you say I was 31? I’m 31 in the world. I was going to say thanks.

Thanks indeed. Now back to the golf…

Danny King, the club pro from Magna GC who is blogging about his experience at the Canadian Open this week, has posted a couple of notes so far. Among them was the fact that a Magna member apparently hit him up for a lesson on the range so the member wouldn’t embarrass himself while playing with Trevor Immelman. King must be a heck of a patient guy — he’s finally got his shot at a PGA Tour event and someone is still coming up and asking, “Danny, I think I’m taking it a little bit outside. Can you fix my slice.”

King’s blog is 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.

1 CommentLeave a comment

  • RT

    Good blog today.

    Very cool of Danny King. I guess that is what seperates a CPGA club professional from a pga tour player. Magna must be pretty proud to have Danny on their staff!

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