With the tournament a month away, and with little in the way of professional sports dominating the news with the exception of baseball, Golf Canada has finally gotten around to announcing the names it expects to be at the RBC Canadian Open at Shaughnessy in Vancouver.
As I mentioned a couple of weeks back, a lot of these names were expected — including Luke Donald, Ernie Els, Matt Kuchar and Jim Furyk — because of their connection to RBC.
Here’s what you should expect, though as always a bunch of these names will surely drop out before the tournament — it seems to happen every year:
In addition, the field for the 102nd playing of Canada’s National Open Championship will welcome several proven PGA TOUR veterans including 16-time PGA Tour winner and 2-time Canadian Open champion Jim Furyk, 18-time PGA Tour winner and World Golf Hall of Fame member Ernie Els, 7-time PGA Tour winner Retief Goosen and Justin Leonard, a 12-time PGA TOUR winner. Other confirmed notables include Tim Clark, Ben Crane, Charlie Hoffman, Ryan Moore, Ricky Barnes, Brandt Snedeker and Lucas Glover.
This year’s RBC Canadian Open will feature 13 of this season’s PGA TOUR event winners to date, including Jonathan Byrd (Hyundai Tournament of Champions), Jhonattan Vegas (Bob Hope Classic), D.A. Points (AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am), Luke Donald (World Golf Championship – Accenture Match Play Championship), Michael Bradley (Puerto Rico Open), Gary Woodland (Transitions Championship), Martin Laird (Arnold Palmer Invitational), Charl Schwartzel (The Masters), Brendan Steele (Valero Texas Open), Brandt Snedeker (The Heritage), Lucas Glover (Wells Fargo Championship), Keegan Bradley (HP Byron Nelson Championship) and Harrison Frazar (FedEx St. Jude Classic).
OFFICIAL WORLD GOLF RANKINGS:
The field for the 102nd playing of Canada’s National Open Championship will feature three of the top 10 and 19 of the top 50 players on the official World Golf Ranking led by world no. 1 ranked Luke Donald. Also confirmed are Matt Kuchar (#7), Charl Schwartzel (#10), Paul Casey (#12), Jim Furyk (#19), Hunter Mahan (#20), Ernie Els (#23), Martin Laird (#25), Retief Goosen (#26), Louis Oosthuizen (#31),Tim Clark (#32), Gary Woodland (#39), Bo Van Pelt (#42), Brandt Snedeker (#43), Jonathan Byrd (#44), Ryan Moore (#46), Ben Crane (#47), Ryan Palmer (#49), and Rickie Fowler (#50).
Any real surprises? Fowler is positive, though he said he was coming last year and bailed out for an appearance fee in Europe. Mahan is certainly a positive, and could surely win on a course like Shaughnessy. Goosen returns after nearly winning a couple of years back, and it is certainly nice to see Ryan Moore in the field. He brings some character to the event.
“We’re a month out from this year’s event and very pleased to welcome this tremendous mix of emerging talent and notable PGA TOUR veterans to the 2011 RBC Canadian Open,” said Bill Paul, Tournament Director of the RBC Canadian Open. “With a terrific venue in Shaughnessy and a partner in RBC focused on results and delivering a world class championship, there is no doubt that Vancouver golf fans will be treated to a tremendous golf showcase this July.”
But will Vancouver golf fans show up? In 2005, when the tournament was last at Shaughnessy, the RCGA blamed its financial woes the following year on poor attendance at the Canadian Open. Of course it didn’t help that the RCGA had said that tickets were nearly sold out — a ploy to try to get fans to buy advance tickets as opposed to just showing up. That really backfired, and despite that the RCGA/Golf Canada went to that same story last year at St. George’s and fans stayed away again. Time for a new strategy I’d say.
However, this is as solid a field as we’ve seen at a Canadian Open since at least 2004, and likely since Tiger Woods was last here in 2001. There are 19 of the Top 50 in the world in the field — a far cry from a few years back when that number was four or five and two of them were Canadians. I’m told a couple more big names could still be added, making this one of the more intriguing Canadian Opens in recent years.