A busy day and I’m just on the way to catch the red-eye home, but I still wrote 2,000 words on the final of the RBC Canadian Open before heading to the airport.
Impressions? The golf course set up made for a dull tournament. The long rough made it impossible to hit recovery shots, which in turn led to pitch outs instead of brave attempts to get to the green. That was the take of Luke Donald, Geoff Ogilvy and basically every other player I spoke with. There were few fans of the set up. If Golf Canada is anxious to test the patience of the best in the world a week after they are under trial at the British Open, well I think they could eventually drive players away.
Even the playoff — with both Sean O’Hair and Kris Blanks banging it into the rough and hacking it out before a bogey eventually won it for O’Hair — was also dry as toast. It was a suitable end to a tournament that wasn’t very interesting to watch, and by the sound of it, not very interesting to play.
I wrote about the final for Sympatico and Golfdigestcanada.ca.
First, Sympatico (full column here):
Sean O’Hair has spent much of this season searching for an answer to his struggles. He fired two caddies, and his Canadian swing coach Sean Foley, but none of those changes helped ease his troubles. Coming into the RBC Canadian Open, O’Hair had missed four cuts in five starts, often only be a shot or two. He reached a low on Wednesday night, he said, when a reading about perseverance and faith convinced him to, in his words, “stay out of my own way.”
Persevere he did, surviving through a tough final round at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club to post 2-under par on a day when scores soared and the third round leaders seemingly wilted under the afternoon sun. He would eventually win a one-hole playoff against PGA Tour journeyman Kris Blanks.
“To be sitting here right now is unbelievable,” said O’Hair in the media room following his win.
“[I’ve been] struggling, fighting and really kind of lost. That’s the word for it – I was lost on Wednesday.”
The passage convinced O’Hair that he’d been trying too hard, that he had to have faith in his remarkable abilities as a golfer. His struggles made the win even more significant.
“I really appreciate what today was all about,” he explained. “I appreciated being there, being in the hunt. I was soaking things up a little bit more.”
My story for Golfdigestcanada.ca also focused on O’Hair:
VANCOUVER, B.C. – On Wednesday, Sean O’Hair said he was lost, struggling to find a solution to his faltering golf game. He hit a low that night, O’Hair said, when suddenly a bible passage led to an epiphany.
“Something inside me told me it’s time to let go and just let everything take care of itself,” he said. “Finally, I said, ‘You know what – it’s just time for me to just let go and whatever happens, happens.”
What happened was that O’Hair, who started the third round of the RBC Canadian Open three shots out of the lead, would fire a 2-under 68 to take a share of the lead, eventually bettering Kris Blanks in a one-hole playoff to win the tournament.
“To win a national title is very cool,” O’Hair said in the media room after his round. “It’s really cool to be sitting here holding the trophy up.”