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Final Canadian Open thoughts

Lots of final thoughts on the Open:

  1. Good thing Jim Furyk won. At least that guarantees there will be three Top 50 players in the field next year (Weir, Ames and Jim). Don’t expect to see many more though, which will be a big disappointment considering how entertaining the tournament was this year. After all, Furyk said he would have skipped next year’s event if he hadn’t won…
  2. Is is possible to stay an amateur and have Nike issue a press release about you? Well, Victor Ciesielski, the amateur from Cambridge who caught the attention of fans with his paints and his game, works for Nike hitting balls at demo days. But you might think there’s more of a relationship as per the Nike press release: “In his Canadian Open debut, Victor used Nike Pro Combo Tour irons, the SasQuatch 9.5-degree Tour driver, the Nike One Platinum ball, and wore Nike apparel including the SP6 Tour shoes.”
  3. John Gordon reports that Stephen Ames may not have been as hurt as he let on. Or at least his trainer didn’t know about it. Ames’ agent later said the trainer wouldn’t know about the injury, which struck me as a bit odd.
  4. James Lepp may have the worst attitude of any terrific golfer I’ve ever met. The kid seems terribly hard on himself, and though he didn’t make the cut, he played well on Thursday. But then he uttered his comment: “I think other people have more confidence in me than I have in myself.” Wow. His girlfriend was apparently so concerned that she pulled a noted sports psychologist aside and asked for some help for James. I hope he can get it together — but I’m beginning to wonder whether he has the psychological makeup to do it.
  5. At least one noted businessman approached me during the tournament to ask why the RCGA hadn’t simply bought out Gordon Stollery instead of taking the tournament to Angus Glen North next year. And how mad was the RCGA at Davis Love for not showing up? I’m sure they wanted him to do a sales job on the course; instead he was in the Carolinas. Oh, and we’ve finally figured out who hired Love to rework Angus. The RCGA said it was Stollery and Stollery said the RCGA. Turns out it was the call of Bill Paul, the RCGA’s tournament director. At least that’s what he told a local radio station.
  6. How about a rotation that doesn’t involve new courses — like the U.S. Open does. Hamilton, Westmount, Shaughnessy and Royal Montreal. Oh, and slip St. George’s in. I’ve spoken at length with St. George’s officials who say there was a plan in place for the Presidents Cup to hold 20,000 fans. That’s about the same as Hamilton held this week. Of course this would mean the end of the Terrebonne project — which apparently is not moving very quickly, as one eye witness told me this week.

That’s it for the time being. I’m off to Dick Zokol’s CJGA fundraising tournament now, and then to Devil’s Paintbrush tomorrow. Next week I’m off to work on a story in Scotland — including rounds at Turnberry, Troon, Nairn, Cruden Bay and Kingsbarns. Can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to that trip! Thanks for reading and keep them in the fairways….

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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.

6 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I listened to the same radio program. My recollection is that Bill Paul said that he approached Davis Love about the project and introduced the individual to the Angus Glen owners. That doesn’t sound like it was the RCGA that hired Davis Love, which is what you are suggesting. After all, if I were the owner of Angus Glen, would it not my my decision to hire the individual that will ultimately make changes to my golf course.

    I love the way the media comes up with simple solutions to issues that have anything but simple solutions. The US Open is a major. It get $30 million per year in just television rights fees from the networks. The US Open can spend as much money as is needed to fix problems (ie. witness Bethpage Black and all the money it poured into the golf course). The RCGA doesn’t live and will never live in that world.

    Questions for you:
    Given the reality that the Canadian Open will played after the British Open, how will moving the tournament three time zone further WEST help the event draw a stronger field?

    Further, last time I looked St. Georges has the ability to park about 100 vehicles and is completely land locked? How do you deal with the logistical problems at this golf course? “There was a plan in place to hold 20,000 spectators you say”? I suppose the plan was so convincing that the PGA Tour decided to take a pass on the course for the President’s Cup.

    As for Hamilton and Royal Montreal, I think your comments are fair. However, be fair to the RCGA. Since 1997, the event has been held at Hamilton(2003 and 2006 ) and Royal Montreal (1997 and 2001) four times. I also think Royal Montreal’s hosting of the Open contributed greatly to its selection as host of the President’s Cup. So let’s be fair here. So be fair here.

    “An eyewitness told me”? “A noted businessman approached me”? “I’ve spoken at length with St. George’s officials”. Do these sources have names? Aren’t good journalists required to print the names of sources?

    Here’s a source for you…..go ahead and print this too:
    A noted blogger told me that the Canadian Open is replacing the
    US Open as a major. The US Open will be dropped from the schedule.

  • Having a west-coast golf course like Shaughnessy to hold the ‘IMG Open’ if the tournament date stays one week after the British Open will accelerate the fall of the status of the Open. The 7-8 hour difference will guarantee to have no top 100 PGA players showing up except the Canadians (who would probably promptly miss the cut or intentionally pull a muscle to get some R&R after fulfilling their obligations).

    I am glad DL III did not get picked.

    Too bad Villegas did not win. He could certainly widen the fan base of golf to include the Hispanic crowd and females.

  • The RCGA, The Broadcast, The Media

    I’m sure next year when the PGA takes over the broadcasting rights, they
    will treat it like a NATIONAL Open and not cut out at 6:00 pm as CTV did to
    go to their local news on Saturday……This would have been added-value
    that advertisers want…

    Shameful…..for a ‘so-called’ NATIONAL Open Championship….Maybe they
    think this is the ‘John Deere’ tournament….If Tiger was in it or Weir in
    contention, would they cut out??…

    I blame the RCGA as they negotiated the TV deal….

    No wonder they can’t get a sponsor……and have to employ a USA company,
    IMG, to assist them…..

    The good news though is that we didn’t have to listen to Black’s boring,
    mundane, monotone and the boring music……The analogy for the broadcast
    quality by CTV/TSN of the tournament reminds me of a comparison of the type
    of coverage of Canadian College football versus the high-tech USA networks
    for their college football……

    Shame on the RCGA…… It’s time to dump the old guard………

    Ross and Paul had their day and do not seem to be able to cope with the new
    reality of sponsorships, negotiating with the PGA, the players, etc….. The
    Tournament needs a fresher managerial approach…….new ideas, more
    creative……..

    They have themselves in a jack pot in 2007…..

    Terrible timing for the tournament and a course no one wants to play…..

    They are obviously not plugged into the PGA internal discussions as they
    have been asking for a change from the September date for years….Now, in
    2007, they have it and it turns out, with the FEDEX Cup, they should have
    stayed where they are in September…

    They couldn’t even convince Davis Love, (re-designer of next year’s course
    and not on the Ryder Cup team) to come to play this year…..

    Ross and Paul took a product “The Open” from the ‘5th major’ to……….

    1) NO SPONSOR,…………

    2) COURSES (ABBEY, ANGUS) THAT NO QUALITY PLAYER WANTS TO PLAY (only players
    trying to get into the top 125 will show up)………

    3) PLACING IT AT A STILL UNFINISHED, UNTESTED COURSE, TERREBONNE, IN
    MONTREAL (just for the money, I’m sure)……..

    Does the US OPEN go to unfinished, untested courses??????

    Where is the forward thinking in this organization??????……….

    AND this country’s magazines, newspaper writers, broadcasters, etc. will
    not call the RCGA out on this……

    Because they all need the RCGA politically or financially, either directly
    or indirectly. They may not get invited to a future RCGA dinner, perhaps or
    some other perk………….

    Based on the people that run the RCGA, the Tournament deserves to be where
    it is in the minds of the TOP PGA tour players…….Just another stop. Just
    another one not to ‘pen-in’ at the start of the year……………

    If ANYONE out there cares about this event, you must agree it needs a
    fresher managerial approach…….new ideas, more creative……..

    Now is the time for the shake up at the RCGA……….

    In my business, it’s all about market share…… If I took a product from
    the ‘5th major’ to C flight, trust me, I’d be replaced!!!!

    Perhaps an article on this by you may be worthwhile???

  • Good article, Robert.

    Next year worries me, but not as much as others perhaps. Yes, it’s the week after the British — but not all the Tour pros go to the British. Certainly the top-tier guys won’t be at the Canadian most likely, but a lot of good players will. Hopefully DLIII will do a selling job on his fellow pros to offset the reputation of the course but it would be nice if he had showed up to start that process this year. I can’t understand why the RCGA agreed to return to Angus Glen.

    Here’s a thought: as long as we’re locked into the week after the British, why not consider a course on the east coast? Maybe Ron Joyce’s Fox Harb’r, with its private airstrip, could be combined with some chartered transportation. Or one of the other fine courses in the Maritimes. Heck, they’ll be flying right over us here.

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