Luke Donald At RBC Canadian Open: Sources

Luke Donald RBC

Luke Donald -- at the Canadian Open at Shaughnessy?

In one of the most ridiculous things I seen in Canadian golf circles in a while, Golf Canada’s site is running a story saying Luke Donald will play the RBC Canadian Open, but only kind of.

Instead of confirming what everyone knows — that Donald, an RBC sponsored player, will be in Vancouver next month, puts a headline on its story saying that “sources” says Donald will play and hedges its options. I assume that’s because Golf Canada hasn’t confirmed anyone will be there — which is a bit strange in itself at this stage in the game. The story, by the way, is from the Canadian Press, so it isn’t the typical Globe and Mail spin on golf that the Golf Canada site provides.

I’m hearing the announced field will be the best in 15 or 20 years — which isn’t surprising when you look at the deals RBC has struck. Add to that the fact that world ranking points improve when the fields are better. In other words, better players are more likely to turn up at events where other top golfers are playing. We also know that the likes of Jhonattan Vegas, Paul Casey and Lucas Glover will be there since they are tipping it up at Banff Springs the day after the Canadian Open is finished for the Telus Skins Game.

What is even odder is that Jim Little, RBC’s main golf guy and the company’s brand guru, says that the bank expects all its “sponsored players,” — Donald, Matt Kuchar, Ernie Els, Anthony Kim, Fred Couples, etc.  — to be in Vancouver:

“It’s one of the things you have to do,” Jim Little, RBC’s chief brand and communications officer, told The Canadian Press in January. “We’ve got to have a good field and we’ve got a challenging date. We’ve got to really work hard to make sure the tournament’s good. We’re very proud of the progress we’ve made on it.

“Unless something strange happens, (the sponsored players) are going to be participants at Shaughnessy and we’re going to have a great field there.”

So what we have here is the official site of Golf Canada running a wire story saying that sources say Donald will be there — something that was expected all along — but the story doesn’t even have a comment from Golf Canada, though the piece appears on its web page. Very odd.

Here’s the official party line, though nowhere in the story does it say Golf Canada was contacted:

Golf Canada has yet to formally announce a list of committed players for this year’s tournament. Donald is one of several pro golfers that is sponsored by RBC and finished third a year ago at St. George’s Golf and Country Club in Toronto.

In the end you have Golf Canada running a story about its own event, where it doesn’t actually comment and the main news comes from “sources.” Can’t get much stranger than that.

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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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