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Kim, Immelman, Donald, Couples, Villegas Commit to CanOpen

On the Weir/RBC conference call today, the bank and the RCGA announced a partnership with Mike Weir’s charity foundation, including a Monday “Mike Weir Charity Classic,” celebrity tournament.

As part of the announcement, it was announced there will a series of celebrities involved, including NBA star Steve Nash.

But it was the PGA Tour names that were impressive, especially this early in the game, with the tournament months away. Those named include Anthony Kim, Camilo Villegas, Luke Donald, Fred Couples, and Mark Calcavecchia. And of course, Stephen Ames, though I’m not sure that needed saying.

Interesting to see the names involved — an indication of the respect most of his peers have for Weir and for RBC’s bank account. Clearly with a number of sponsors struggling, it looks like RBC’s cash and strong financial position versus other sponsors (Stanford Financial anyone?) is finally starting to draw bigger names earlier.

When asked about the position of the tournament, Weir said the RCGA and RBC are “going the right things,” but added the situation is “not going to switch overnight.” 

Once again, Weir said that golf courses are key to luring players. Note there was no comment on Glen Abbey, a course he now respects but will never be fond of.

“I think there’s a lot more interest among players for the event,” Weir said. “It got a lot of noteriety playing in Hamilton and it caught the interest of players who have respect for the history of the game and those old classic golf courses.”

And those courses, as well as RBC’s involvement, are apparently making it easier for Weir to be an ambassador for the event.

“I’m not out there telling the guys to come out and play,” he said.  “It is more them coming up to me, which is a nice change.”

As for other big names — or the biggest — Weir wouldn’t say he was reaching out to Tiger.

“He doesn’t talk much about schedule and I don’t talk schedule with him,” Weir said. “He has a plan for everything.”

Update:

So what’s the overall result of this? Weir said he doesn’t feel like there’s any more pressure on him to sell the tournament. Clearly Weir/IMG are becoming more linked with the Canadian Open and are more comfortable aligning themselves with it. The player field is certainly better just with the players announced. Kim, Villegas, Weir, Ames, Immelman and Donald are all in the Top 50 players in the year. And that makes this a stronger field than the tournament has had in a few years. On top of that, Kim and Villegas are both draws — young stars that people will want to see play.

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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

  • and why not Ryo as well. I assume Rory is out of the question, but both Danny and Ryo probably wont play in the 2 majors/WGC events around the Cdn Open.

    Also, having Calc on your marquee list isnt a good idea.

  • Why isnt Bob Tway listed as ‘marquee’ then? Im sure he will show up.

    Im just saying if someone like Calc makes your marquee list, then theres something wrong…..

  • Calc is actually someone I would pay to see play. Part of a dying breed, and watching him cut the ball off the tee is spectacular.

  • So, let me get this right.

    For Mike Weir to support the Canadian Open, RBC had to partner with Weir’s Charity Foundation.
    Sounds like a payoff to me. Whatever happened to supporting something BECAUSES you think it is good?

  • George: I don’t think it is a payoff — at least not any more than having Tiger partner with an event in Washington. It only makes sense to link Weir more directly with the tournament, especially since the RCGA has been informally asking him to get out in front of the event for years without really involving him in the decisions. These days they are running potential courses by him (and Stephen Ames) and trying to involve him more in the process.

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