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A Look Back At The Canadian Open

It was a great golf course played by some great players. Some greater players (2) didn`t show up but did that make it a bad tournament? There has been a lot of criticism about the Canadian Open and the RCGA over the past few weeks. How much of it is valid and how much is unfair?

Selfishly, one of the nice things about the Big Two not being around is that there was a much more relaxed atmosphere around the Hamilton Golf & Country Club. You got to see some incredible golf shots played by some of the world`s best players. Because the crowd was spread out over the field you also had a better chance to see the golf course itself and get yourself into position to watch you favourite players.

The Canadian Open used to be heralded as an unofficial major. Over the years it has lost its luster. There are many opinions as to why but does it really matter? Some say yes. Some say that the tournament needs to regain the prestige it once had in order to get a full field back. Some say it needs to have that full field in order to command bigger corporate dollars and more TV money.

First things first. How do you get the prestige back into the tournament? The RCGA needs to put its thinking caps on to try and figure out how to separate the Canadian Open from the Booz Allen Classic.

The RCGA. Poor buggers have been taking an ass kicking haven`t they? Do they deserve it? Maybe. Maybe not. I submit that the RCGA is judged on how they handle the Canadian Open. Perhaps their PR department needs to do a better job of getting the word out on all of the other responsibilities the organization has annually and how they are helping the game grow (if they are). Perhaps the RCGA should consider talking to some innovative marketing minds about how to bring the luster back to the Canadian Open Trophy.

I`m trying to figure it out myself. I would suggest though that they need to take better advantage of modern technology for the fans at the course. I would have liked to see more interactive kiosks that help teach kids the history of the open. Our national open is one of the oldest professional tournaments in the world. Take the opportunity to cart out some of that history. Let people hit gutta percha balls. Let them hit hickory sticks. Once you have the history ingrained in the fans at the course, spread their knowledge via the internet. Wouldn`t it be great to do live online chats between fans at the site and fans tuning in from around the world? How about the players? Are they getting online to chat with fans? Tie that in to your tournament sponsors and TV partners.

There, the problem`s solved. I`ve now made everyone look good and have begun putting down the foundation to rebuild the Canadian Open`s reputation. And as for Stephen Ames` comments about Angus Glen North “ sure it isn`t the grand dame of Canadian courses but at least it`s a public course that a good cross-section of the players in the GTA have probably played at one point or another. It`s always nice to see how you pros stack up against us hackers on common courses.

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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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