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Final Thoughts On Canadian Open; Weir in PEI

Jim Furyk three putts the final hole at the Canadian Open and still wins. I guess we can be thankful for that — he’s already said he’ll return next year to defend when the tournament is held at Glen Abbey.

Of course Furyk really grabbed control of the tournament when he had an ace on the fourth hole. While playing the hole during the pro-am on Wednesday, RIM CEO Jim Balsillie asked me what I thought Furyk was hitting. Keep in mind the hole plays 205 yards. I told Balsillie that Furyk would likely be hitting a 4-iron. Balsillie scoffed, saying Furyk wouldn’t be hitting more than a 7-iron.

We were both wrong — Furyk hit 3-iron, proof apparently that even tour pros don’t hit the ball as far as many observers think they do.

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Will Vijay Singh return for the Canadian Open next year? He’s been a mainstay, but one has to figure that one of the reasons he was in Toronto for the past week was due to the IMG event with PEI on Monday that has him playing Mike Weir in a made-for-TV event. Aside from Singh, I swear most golf fans couldn’t pick any of the Top 10 finishers at the Canadian Open out of a lineup, with the notable exception of Camillo Villegas, and then they’d only know him from the cut of his pants.

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With all the bitching about Angus Glen’s North Course, the truth is it held up pretty well for the tournament. However, I’ll tell you it led to some strange issues for the tournament. Fans rarely seemed to be around the clubhouse, so expect a lot of 2-for-1 Canadian Open shirt sales upcoming. Secondly, the scale of the course made it difficult for fans to get out and see much of the tournament, since the north course turned out to almost be an out-and-back links. The back holes — 12, 13, 14 — didn’t seem to get many spectators, even though the parking lot wasn’t that far away.

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I’m in PEI now, working on a chapter for my Going for the Green book, and a magazine article on the marketing of Mike Weir. I’m going to sit down with Weir and caddy Brennan Little for a conversation about the Dymnamic mutual fund campaign that has been ongoing. Interestingly, Brad Pelletier, managing director of IMG Canada, told me Weir has signed on with IMG through to the end of 2008. Weir’s deal with Bell Canada also ends this year — and we’ll see how that turns out in coming months.

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I played Crowbush Cove this morning in a “shamble,” a version of the scramble where each player hits their ball after the best tee shot is selected. I won’t get to see the course again while I’m here, but I’ll say this — the course is good, but not great. I’ll do a full review in coming weeks, but it struck me that PEI would be better off if they had created one world class golf course, instead of two good ones and a bunch of average tracks. Crowbush is good, but has far too many average holes to be great.

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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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