Green spinning his wheels

IAN HUTCHINSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:43 AM ET

If Nathan Green were from the Toronto best known for gridlock and G20 riots, the patrons who file into St. George's Golf and Country Club this week would have a better idea of how the defending RBC Canadian Open champ has fared since his Monday playoff win last year at soggy Glen Abbey.

Alas, Green is from a Toronto in New South Wales -- in the Land of Oz -- and the affable Aussie admits he hasn't done much to draw attention to himself.

"It's been a struggle," admitted Green, who missed the cut at the Reno-Tahoe Open on the weekend.

"It's tough to get everything going on the one week. I drive it well on one week and putt bad, then putt well and drive it bad. I just haven't been able to combine it all in one week. Mentally, it's been frustrating. I think that's reflected in some of my scores. Hopefully, it will turn around soon."

After last year's bizarre Open, Green has first-hand knowledge of how quickly a season can turn in the right direction. The 2009 Open was his 21st PGA Tour event of the year and the best he had to show for it was a couple of top-20 finishes.

"At that time, I was struggling for top 20s and 30s, let alone winning an event," he recalled. "To experience such a tough year and then come out of it with a win was a huge, personal triumph to overcome a bad year that turned into a great year."

The flip side of that is that the engine can stall when you shift into overdrive. Green is looking for deja vu this week as he comes in with just one top-10 in 19 events.

Two wins in two years would be sweet for the former Canadian Tour player, but he knows it won't be easy because he says Golf Canada and RBC are making the right moves to raise the Open's stature, including the chartering of a plane to bring players back from the British Open.

"The field, in general, is strong. I think they've done the right things with getting people back here from the British Open. There are a lot of good, young players who are going to be here. Everything's shaping up for a great week," he said.

"They've done as much as they can. I think that's why you're getting the stronger fields back here," said Green, adding that venue plays an important role.

Green was snooping around St. George's a few weeks ago to get a feel for the course on which he will defend his first PGA Tour title.

"They've got some pretty thick rough out there. There are some really tricky green complexes, as well," he said. "I think it's going to test every facet of your game. You're going to have to drive it well and you're going to have to putt it really well. You know if you're in the rough, it's going to be tough to make par.

"It's going to be a trying week, but overall, it's a great golf course and I think a lot of guys will look forward to playing it," he said.

Mike Weir, who joined Green on that scouting mission, agreed.

"I think the real challenge is going to be the greens. The greens are very difficult," Weir said. "There are a few dog-leg holes out there, a couple of little blind shots. It has a great variety, but I think where you're going to see the players maybe struggle a little bit is on the greens.

"Driving will be key out here. You know you're going to need to be in the fairway, but I still think everything around the green is going to have to be sharp."

HUTCHGOLF@NETZERO.COM


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