There may be plenty of problems with the idea, but Lorne Rubenstein is reporting today that RCGA Canadian Open tournament director Bill Paul has approached Tiger Woods about designing a course that could be used for the tournament.
Bill Paul, the RBC Canadian Open’s tournament director, said on Thursday that he spoke with Woods about his design business during the Masters last April.
“We talked about where he was going with his design and I said we should talk further if there’s any opportunity to do a course in Canada,” Paul said. “He said, ‘Let’s do it,’ ” meaning they should explore the possibility.
Paul later spoke with Woods’s agent, Mark Steinberg, about getting together again to discuss the matter. It wasn’t long before the U.S. Open, which Woods won, came up. Woods then had reconstructive knee surgery and has since been recuperating.
“It’s in my diary now,” Paul said about further discussion. “I have to follow up with Tiger and Steinberg.”
Where to start? Can you say pipe dream? The RCGA’s executive director Scott Simmons admits the organization has no cash to build a course. And unless Paul has gone into the development business himself, there’s no builder in place for a Woods course and there’s surely plenty of people lined up to purchase his services in more obvious markets. I’d heard a rumor a few months ago that there had been talk about approaching Woods to build a course in Calgary. That might make sense, since the RCGA has long been anxious to move into the market, but lacks a course. There was also discussion about involving Mike Weir in a course that could host the Canadian Open. Weir is currently in the final stages of setting up his design firm, which will likely be launched with a project in BC early next year.
Of course all of this runs contrary to the RCGA’s stated goal of utilizing classic Canadian courses for the Open. Score has reported 2011 will go to Shaughnessy G&CC in Vancouver, following St. George’s in 2010. After that I’d guess Royal Montreal or back to the Toronto market before heading to Montreal. Besides, a new course — by Weir or Woods — probably wouldn’t be ready until at least 2013 at the current pace, even if you take current economic conditions out of the equation.
However, even Rubenstein’s article seems to suggest the chance a Woods design will happen in Canada are remote at best:
“We only had that quick conversation at the Masters,” Paul said. “If Tiger did a course [in Canada] naturally we would want it to host the Canadian Open.”
“I’m sure even Tiger would admit that it would be a feather in his cap if he knew his course was going to be a part of the Canadian Open rota,” Simmons said. “If it’s going to happen anywhere in the country, you’d think Alberta is the logical choice. We can’t afford to go to a small market. You have to go to a market that RBC will embrace and where there’s enough corporate support to allow you to at least break even.”
Simmons knows that Alberta lacks a course that could play host to the Canadian Open. He’s also spoken with Mike Weir about a course. He said the RCGA has made it known to Weir and the International Management Group in Toronto, with whom he works, that the association would “love to understand” how it could be involved in a course he designs in Canada.
Speaking of St. George’s, a construction firm has been hired by the club to work with Doug Carrick to build a couple of new tees and perhaps rework some landing areas (#5, #10) on the course.
Rubenstein’s article is here.