I’m writing for Sympatico this week at the Canadian Open, and kick off coverage with a story on the course — Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club. It is a genuinely very good course — probably in the Top 20 in Canada. It will also disappear in two decades, which makes for an interesting turn of events.
Here’s the tale:
It takes a lot to make professional golfers fly half way around the world for a golf tournament. Golf Canada gambled that Vancouver’s Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club would be just the lure it would need when it was announced the RBC Canadian Open, which follows the British Open this week, would return to the course for the first time in six years.
PGA Tour pros raved about the golf course in 2005 when the tournament last returned to the classic course, one of the last designed by A.V Macan, the architect behind many of the great courses in British Columbia, Washington and California.
“We’re looking at returning to a place that was a resounding success,” says Bill Paul, Golf Canada’s tournament director for the RBC Canadian Open. “When we announced we were returning to Shaughnessy and Vancouver we received a lot of great comments from players who weren’t there.”
It was a risky move, but one that seems to have paid off, attracting many of the game’s biggest stars, including Paul Casey, Jim Furyk, and world No. 1 Luke Donald. Former Canadian Open winner Vijay Singh was expecting to play, but had to withdraw due to an injury.
“The best course we play on tour,” Singh said when the tournament was last at Shaughnessy.
It isn’t the kind of effusive praise one expects out of usually tight-lipped PGA Tour pros, let alone the likes of Singh, a man of few words at the best of times.