Furyk Says Game is "Strong," No Tiger or Phil in the Field

The RCGA held a conference call today with Jim Furyk about the [photopress:Furyk_Jim_Trophy.jpg,full,alignright]Canadian Open. I must admit I like Furyk; he’s a straight shooter, and there’s no BS when he speaks.

He admitted he came to the Canadian Open last year because it was being played at Hamilton G&CC, and is only at Angus Glen this year because he won. He added the tournament schedule, which sees him tee it up for eight of nine weeks, is hectic, but Furyk said he enjoys playing three or four weeks at a stretch. He wishes he had a longer break in the middle though.

Prior to the call, I spoke with Bill Paul who confirmed many of the names from this morning’s post. Camilo Villegas is expected to be there, along with Brad Faxon, Woody Austin, Chris Dimarco, John Daly, Brett Quigley, Hunter Mahan, Vaughn Taylor, Robert Allenby and JJ Henry. Paul said he’s surprised by the strength of the field, adding 23 players are coming to Canada from the British Open. In contrast, Milwaukee only had about a 12 players or less each year play the week after the Open Championship.

One thing is clear this year — Paul said Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have told him flatly that neither will be coming to Canada for the event. One has to wonder whether they’ll be in the field for the Presidents Cup.

There are currently 17 Canadians in the field, Paul added, and a press release from the RCGA named the past champions who are attending:

Furyk, who took home the title last September at Hamilton Golf and Country Club will be joined by fellow Canadian Open winners Mark Calcavecchia (2005), Vijay Singh (2004), Bob Tway (2003), Scott Verplank (2001), Billy Andrade (1998), Steve Jones (1997), and Dudley Hart (1996) as well as John Rollins, winner of the 2002 Canadian Open held on the South Course at Angus Glen.

I’m sure there will be some who jump on Paul for not getting the game’s biggest names, but the field doesn’t look too bad to me.

Interestingly, Furyk admitted he’s not a fan of Glen Abbey, making it less than likely he’ll return for 2008. This puts pressure on the RCGA to come up with a strong venue for 2009. According to my sources, Hamilton has said no to hosting that year. RCGA president Garry West recently toured St. George’s, but the logistics of holding the event at Canada’s best course would be tough.

Coppinwood, the new private Tom Fazio course outside of Toronto is also a possibility, and perhaps even Royal Montreal if the redesigned course is well received at the Presidents Cup.

Or, as one noted golf pro told me this week, “that’s if there is a Canadian Open in 2009.”

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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.

7 CommentsLeave a comment

  • From your column, you are speaking as thou Central Canada is the only option for 2009. I’d say it is time to take it out of Ontario/Quebec. Rotate the event between the same 4 or 5 clubs throughout the country. Three in the East, and 2 in the West.

  • Neo: I don’t disagree — but I’m wondering what course that would be? I see Shaughnessy, but where is the second Western course? The other issue is the time difference — all the way from the UK to Vancouver…. 8 hours difference.

  • As much as I would love to see the Canadian Open come back to St. George’s, it will never happen. One reason. The driving range. Name one PGA tour event that has a range that is only about 230 yds long. Are they going to tell the pros that they can only hit irons?

  • Woody Austin takes the Canadian Open so seriously that he is foregoing the Open Championship so that he is in prime shape for Angus Glen North!

    To Evan: At 230 yards that also means that the longer pros can hit nothing longer than a 5 iron on the range.

  • Robert, for players flying direct from London after the British Open, it’s only about 1 hour 40 minutes more to YVR opposed to YYZ. YYC even less.

    I think we could find 2 courses out West every 5 years or so, especially if the RCGA would help to build some infrastructure.

  • Neo – the flight isn’t that much longer but the time zone differential also makes it difficult. And then there is the issue of having to travel back to Eastern North American for the WGC event at Firestone the next week. Maybe they should of held the Canadian Open at Redtail as it would only be a short hop over Lake Ontario to Akron!

  • I read your comments on Baltray – The majority of members of our group felt that the Co. Louth course was as good as any, if not better than most & certainly the most enjoyable course we played in Ireland based on a combination of welcoming, design, enjoyment & golf the way it should be – understated!There was not a poor hole on the course & the setting was super – not spectacular but wonderful.

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