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Canadian Open Field Is Set: Might be Weakest in Years

So the Canadian Open field was fully announced on Friday, though according to [photopress:canadian_open.jpg,full,alignright]the Toronto Star, the RCGA had some sort of computer glitch that complicated the process of getting all the names that have entered.

Canadian Open tournament director told the Toronto Star that he was “happier now than I was 12 to 15 months ago. Certainly you would want a lot of other people in the field, but I like the challenge and we’ve got a good field.”

Indeed, I think I’d call the field basically average to poor, and with the exception of Vijay Singh and Jim Furyk, I would call it pretty short on stars. It would be an exaggeration to call it strong. And Davis Love III, the fellow who reworked Angus Glen’s North Course for the tournament made his unofficial maybe official — he’s not coming, despite missing the cut at the British Open.

Given a cursory look at the list of players (and noting past winner Scott Verplank — 2001 — isn’t in the field), there are only two players in the Top 10 in the World Golf Rankings (Furyk and Singh) and only five total from the World Top 50 (including Ames, Weir and John Rollins). That’s actually a pretty weak field and in line with what the Greater Milwaukee Open (the event that has historically followed the British Open) has received in the past.

So much, I guess, for the great support the FedEx Cup was going to generate. The new event, with its $10-million payoff, was supposed to bring players to events like the Canadian Open. In truth, this might be the weakest field in recent memory. Imagine if Furyk hadn’t won and Singh didn’t have a corporate commitment in PEI the Monday following the Canadian Open. Imagine if we didn’t have two Canadians in the Top 50? Then your best player would be John Rollins, and he’s certainly a crowd pleaser.

Of course there are some interesting players in the field who haven’t played well lately, including Bob Tway, Steve Elkington, Justin Leonard and John Daly (as if anyone still cares). But there aren’t many young guns (no Anthony Kim, for example), and apparently very few intereted in scooping up the supposedly important FedEx points.

Interestingly PGA Tour exec Ty Votaw said we could talk about the role of the FedEx Cup once the Canadian Open was announced. but otherwise it was too early to consider the Canadian Open in trouble. I think it is time to have that chat.

From a Canadian perspective, apparently the exemption committee at the RCGA doesn’t pay much attention to the World Rankings list. Otherwise they may have looked at the Canadian list and offered recent Telus Edmonton Open winner Dustin Risdon an exemption — as he’s ranked 10th among Canadians on the list and ahead of the likes of James Lepp and David Morland, both of whom were offered places in the tournament. He has the right to be pissed, in my mind anyway. And what about Rick Gibson? I bet he would have come for an exemption and he’s currently our fifth ranked player in the world.

Which does make one wonder about the wisdom of handing out exemptions to Andrew Parr and Richard Scott, though I’m actually happy to see them both in the tournament.

According to the World Golf Rankings, here are the best players in the field (if I’m missing anyone, please let me know). According to my calculations, there are 18 of the Top 100 in the world in the field. And that’s not good.

Here’s the list of top players:

*Stephen Ames 34

Calcavecchia 63

Furyk 3

O’Hair 73

Dimarco 58

Nathan Green 87

Hunter Mahan 77

Rocco Mediate 93 (though he didn’t even have playing privleges on tour earlier this year)

Pat Perez 91

Brett Quigley 79

Bubba Watson 78

Jeff Quinney 97

John Rollins 46

Vijay Singh 6

Snedeker 92
Villegas 99

Mike Weir 40

Dean Wilson 81

So are any of these players enticing you, as a spectator, to come and see this year’s Canadian Open? Anyone out there fearful at what next year’s field might look like?

Here’s the entire field:

Steve Allan

Michael Allen

*Stephen Ames

Billy Andrade

Ryan Armour

Tommy Armour III

Eric Axley

Briny Baird

Rich Barcelo

*Chris Baryla

Cameron Beckman

Adam Bland

Craig Bowden

Michael Boyd

Michael Bradley

David Branshaw

Jeff Brehaut

D.J. Brigman

Mark Brooks

Olin Browne

Bart Bryant

Andrew Buckle

Tom Byrum

Mark Calcavecchia

Alex Cejka

Daniel Chopra

*Victor Ciesielski (a)

Gavin Coles

Kris Cox

John Daly

Brian Davis

Marco Dawson

Glen Day

Brendon de Jonge

*Graham Delaet

Bubba Dickerson

Chris DiMarco

Jason Dufner

Ken Duke

Steve Elkington

Bob Estes

Brad Faxon

Steve Flesch

Harrison Frazar

*Brad Fritsch

Jim Furyk

Robert Gamez

Robert Garrigus

Brian Gay

Brent Geiberger

*Derek Gillespie

Mathew Goggin

Jason Gore

Jeff Gove

Paul Gow

Nathan Green

Mike Grob

Mathias Gronberg

Scott Gutschewski

Bill Haas

*David Hearn

*Wes Heffernan

Bob Heintz

Matt Hendrix

Ryuji Imada

Tripp Isenhour

Lee Janzen

Richard S. Johnson

Tom Johnson

Kent Jones

Steve Jones

Craig Kanada

*Danny King

Cliff Kresge

Doug LaBelle II

Stephen Leaney

*Ian Leggatt

Justin Leonard

*James Lepp

Spencer Levin

Frank Lickliter II

Craig Lile

*James Love

Steve Lowery

Jarrod Lyle

Hunter Mahan

John Mallinger

Steve Marino

Daisuke Maruyama

Shigeki Maruyama

Troy Matteson

Bob May

Parker McLachlin

Alan McLean

George McNeill

Rocco Mediate

John Merrick

Larry Mize

Bryce Molder

*David Morland IV

Sean O’Hair

Joe Ogilvie

Jeff Overton

Greg Owen

Ryan Palmer

Jesper Parnevik

*Andrew Parr

*Bryn Parry

Corey Pavin

Pat Perez

Craig Perks

Tom Pernice, Jr.

Tim Petrovic

Dicky Pride

Ted Purdy

Michael Putnam

Brett Quigley

Jeff Quinney

Kyle Reifers

Tag Ridings

John Rollins

*Jim Rutledge

Jason Schultz

*Richard Scott

Paul Sheehan

Michael Sim

Joey Sindelar

Vijay Singh

Jeff Sluman

Jerry Smith

Brandt Snedeker

Kevin Stadler

Paul Stankowski

Darron Stiles

Chris Stroud

Chris Tidland

D.J. Trahan

Bob Tway

Omar Uresti

Bo Van Pelt

Jaco Van Zyl

Camilo Villegas

Johnson Wagner

Duffy Waldorf

Charles Warren

Bubba Watson

*Mike Weir

Steve Wheatcroft

Charlie Wi

Dean Wilson

Mark Wilson

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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.

8 CommentsLeave a comment

  • The Canadian Open is being played on a second rate golf course the week after the Open. Why would anyone expect top ranked players to enter when we don’t even do them the courtesy of hosting the event on a world class course – of which there are a number in the GTA let alone across Canada.
    Hope that the new leadership at the RCGA have the initiative to ensure that the Open is played at our best courses – not just the usual suspects.
    I am surprised that Love isn’t professional enough to show up at the course he took money to set up. This must be a new low in PGA self-centredness.

  • I know of people who turned down corporate ticket offers to the Open this year. Their responses are typically along the line of ‘why would I go through the hassle to watch second rated players playing a second rated event on a second rated golf course’?

  • What about Mike Mezei as well…He just won on the CanTour like Risdon…Come on RCGA a former National team member and #1 ranked amateur in the country at one point…GET IT RIGHT FOR ONCE…

  • The sad part is there will be some outstanding golf played at the Canadian Open that many will not see. Sure, it will not have the best players in the world but there are guys playing in the tournament that have beaten or can beat the best in the world. The talent is there although the relatively low intensity of the event may not bring out their best.

    As to the people that turned down corporate tickets for the Canadian Open event…sure sounds like they do not understand or appreciate quality golf…hmmm, turn down free tickets, probably free booze all because many top names are not playing? I wonder if they appreciate the level of golf played by the guys that are showing? Obviously not as demonstrated by their actions which in turn reflect their ignorance…

  • People should go see Bubba Watson play. A few years ago, I was travelling on business and had only an evening dinner meeting scheduled. I went to watch the Nationwide Tour event that was on in Calgary. I followed Bubba for seven holes, saw him hit the the farthest, most crooked shots that I had ever seen. He was five over when I left to go to my dinner. I was thinking, “This guy is going to shoot 85!”.

    Later, when I got back to my hotel, I found myself on the same elevator as Bubba (who must have just got back after some post-round practice). He was carrying his giant PING bag and I asked him if he was playing in the Nationwide event (he did not recognize me). He said that he was and when I followed up with a question about “how did you do?”. His answer was 67! He was ten under on the 11 holes after I left. Go see Bubba hit it. It is worth it.

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