This is, by my estimation, my 20th Canadian Open, either attended as a fan or a journalist. Hard to imagine, really. This year has been interesting. Once again I’m working for Global News/Shaw Golf as part of their online and television team, and writing for Global Golf Post.
And while the early news was all about the Olympics, today’s news, to my way of thinking, is more significant. That’s because RBC’s long delayed renewal announcement came through, inking a deal with Golf Canada that will see the tournament have the bank as title sponsor through 2023. That allows Golf Canada and RBC to start actively looking for sites that won’t become houses (at least not in the next few years). I wrote about the deal here.
RBC’s renewal will likely put more pressure on Golf Canada. The way the deal works, RBC puts up a certain amount of cash, and that money is largely allocated to media buys in the U.S. that support the television deal. The price of that media has surely gone up—the PGA Tour will want more money—and that means the odd man out is likely Golf Canada, which will continue to struggle to make money off the tournament. In fact, breaking even in a bad year will become an achievement of sorts. So this is largely a good news story for golf—but probably not a perfect deal for Golf Canada.
However, it does mean there are some decisions to be made as to where the tournament will be held in upcoming years. I can’t imagine it’ll all be Glen Abbey, a course doomed to become houses. I’m betting on Glen Abbey for 2018, Hamilton in 2019, and St. George’s the following year. Other courses I hear are in the mix include Eagles Nest, while Golf Canada continues to hope against hope that ClubLink’s Rai Sahi will decide he’s in the golf business, instead of the housing business, and rebuild one of his courses.
Other stories worth noting:
- I spent Wednesday night at Bob Week’s Golf Hall of Fame induction, which was a nice evening. Hall of Famer Mike Weir did a funny introduction, and several of my peers were in attendance. For the record, Bob has always been very kind to me and I’ve always held him in the highest regard. He wrote the forward for my last book, and put me on the masthead at SCORE as Senior Writer. Congrats to Bob, who continues to collect hall of fame acknowledgments the same way others gather hockey cards.
- Scott Feschuk in the Star has a good piece on Mike Weir’s struggles and his work with Richard Zokol. “I want to win. I love to compete. I love feeling the juice when you’re in contention to win. I still feel like I can do that. I’m still driven to do that,” Weir said. “That hasn’t gone away yet. We’ll see if one day it does.” https://www.thestar.com/sports/golf/2016/07/20/mike-weir-looks-for-silver-lining-at-canadian-open.html
- Matt Kuchar told me he loved Cabot Links so much that he’s discussing a trip with his father to visit the officially opened Cabot Cliffs.
- In a maddeningly dull interview, Dustin Johnson said, well, very little. Despite that Peter Robinson did a good job of encapsulating the fact the two top golfers are in Canada at the same time for the first time in 20 years. http://www.cbc.ca/sports/golf/canadian-open-preview-1.3687578
- Adam Hadwin talks about his lack of affection for Glen Abbey for Global News: http://globalnews.ca/news/2837517/loving-the-spotlight-at-rbc-canadian-open/
- Dave Pollard in the Sun talks Jason Day and his run of success that started last year at the Canadian Open: http://www.torontosun.com/2016/07/20/days-ascent-launched-by-last-years-canadian-open-win
- Jason Logan at SCORE sets the scene for this year’s Canadian Open: http://scoregolf.com/blog/jason-logan/setting-the-opens-scene/