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Canadian Open — Just Say No

[photopress:tomsandgarcia.jpg,full,alignright]The answers are already starting to come for the Canadian Open — and they don’t look good.

Yesterday David Toms and Sergio Garcia were in Aurora to play Magna Golf Club as part of a Golf Town sponsored charity fundraiser for prostate cancer research. Toms and Garcia flew in the night before — with Toms heading directly from Texas where he was playing the Colonial.

The event was pretty cool — with golfers playing nine holes before watching Garcia and Toms hit some on the range and play an exhibition in the afternoon.

It turns out it will be the only time the pair will be in Canada this year. Garcia said he wouldn’t be playing the Canadian Open this year, and Toms indicated he’d also likely take a pass, though he added he hasn’t determined his schedule beyond June.

An interesting contrast to the dismissal of the Canadian Open by two of the game’s better players is the RCGA’s seemingly endless series of press releases detailing the players coming to the Canadian Women’s Open in Edmonton.

Toms has flirted with the Canadian Open in the past — he was expected in 2003 but bailed at the last minute due to concerns about SARS (or maybe a good football game was on). Otherwise he hasn’t attended since 1994 and never made a cut in our national open.

Garcia, on the other hand, played twice and played well (2000 and 01, with a third and tie for fifth), but hasn’t been back since, even though he turns up just about every year for a TaylorMade event.

He said his schedule is too busy to come to Canada:

“I have the British Open, probably [the Scottish Open at] Loch Lomond before that, and then we have NEC and PGA,” Garcia said, noting that he doesn’t like to play more than three consecutive weeks. “It will be too many in a row for me.

“It’s a tough schedule. Now with the FedEx Cup, everything seems like it’s tucked in.”

“Tucked in?” Now I don’t think that’s how Ty Votaw explained it to me earlier in the year when he said more top players would likely come to the Canadian Open because of the FedEx deal.

Toms was noncommital, but given his record of playing in Canada, I think his comments speak volumes:

“I haven’t looked past June yet. We’ll see,” Toms said. “I know we have a lot of big tournaments coming up before the FedEx Cup series starts, and you’ll see some guys jockeying for position. You’ll see some guys playing that might not normally play. You’ll see other guys will take a week off somewhere when they usually play. I think everybody is just trying to figure this out.”

If they haven’t figured it out by now then the Canadian Open is really in trouble. The truly interesting question is whether Davis Love III, who redesigned Angus Glen North for the tournament, will show up. A Toronto Star story a few weeks back suggested Love might skip the tournament as well. I find it hard to believe Angus Glen owner Gord Stollery, a very astute man, would not have had a hand shake agreement with Love before he signed over the big cheque.

The Star’s take on the event is here, and here is the Globe’s version.

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Lastly, there’s a new blog on the Canadian scene worth checking out. Fairways editor Peter Mumford has a new column up as part of the relaunch of his magazine’s website. Check it out 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.

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