The field at the Canadian Open, at least as far as Canadians go, is mainly set. That was concluded yesterday after the final round of the Canadian Tour stop in Winnipeg. The Top Six on the Canadian Tour land spots in the Open at Angus Glen.
1. Spencer Levin Elk Grove, CA $71,919 7
2. Adam Bland Australia $56,566 10
3. Derek Gillespie Oshawa, ON $48,239 11
4. Wes Heffernan Calgary, AB $46,992 10
5. Alan McLean London, ON $42,096 9
6. Mike Grob Billings, MT $41,911 10
Gillespie is in after rebounding this year. He had largely been written off last year, lacking a sponsor or an agent heading into this year. McLean, who I’ve written about a lot in the past, is a relocated South African who married a Canadian girl and is on the verge of finalizing his Canadian citizenship. He’s been playing very well the last few weeks and now doesn’t have to put himself through the arduous task of qualifying.
One name missing from the list is Cambridge, Ont.’s Victor Ciesielski. The kid was the hit of the Canadian Open last year, and is on the RCGA’s national team. But he hasn’t been given an exemption into the event.
Even though he hasn’t been invited (I suspect he’ll try to qualify, as he did last year), that hasn’t kept the Royal Canadian Golf Association from using the kid for its marketing, on radio and on video the official site for the tournament (“an amateur underdog fighting for his life….”
G4G reader Chris had this to say:
Wow, it gets better. I just went to the Canadian Open site and they include Ciesielski in their montage of great Canadian Open highlights and have an indepth account of his amazing week last year. If I had bought tickets based on him being in the ads I would be a little ticked right now.
I must admit I don’t understand the process of how the RCGA picks those that get in and don’t get in to the tournament. McLean has told me stories about being told he had to go through pre-qualifying and Monday qualifying, despite playing on the European Tour at the time. Tournament director Bill Paul has said there are three members of the exemption committee — and apparently those three don’t speak with the marketing staff that is using Ciesielski as one of its calling cards for the event.
Why not make the Canadian Open as Canadian as possible, especially given the date its been pushed into by the PGA Tour? Why not invite Ciesielski, one of the few great stories from last year’s event?
Interestingly, Richard Scott, James Lepp and Andrew Parr have all been invited this year — and rightfully so. But this demonstrates just how arbitrary the process of exemptions is.
I’ve always been confused by this process, which doesn’t seem to have any consistency. In 2003, Chris Baryla became the first Canadian amateur in 20 years to make the cut at the Canadian Open. The following year, after turning pro, he didn’t receive an invite to play.
Let’s hope Ciesielski plays his way in to the Canadian Open — he deserves to be there.