Bigger fish to fry

IAN HUTCHINSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:35 AM ET

Wasn't that a touching flood of naivete that flowed last week after Glen Abbey was named the site of the 2009 Canadian Open?

The main bone to gnaw on is the theory that the Open is supposed to be in a rotation of prestigious courses and 2009 will be the second consecutive year at the Abbey.

A rotation is a charming idea that has been discussed openly by the Royal Canadian Golf Association, which should know better since fiction quickly becomes perceived reality once an idea goes public.

A nice as it would be to follow the leads of the British Open and U.S. Open, a regular rotation is fantasy at this point, for a few reasons. There are few courses in Canada with the infrastructure to host an Open and very few willing to disrupt their businesses every few years to prepare for the national championship.

However, the main reason that a regular rotation can't be promised right now is that the title sponsor will play a major role in where the Open will be played. Until it has that precious commodity, there is no way the RCGA can promise where it will be held beyond the immediate future.

So, it makes business sense for the RCGA to place the Open at the Abbey for now and if a title sponsor comes on board sometime soon, it will kick off its relationship with the tournament at a stadium course in the Toronto area. Canada's largest market is attractive to most corporations.

Where that sponsor takes the Open after '09 -- assuming there is a sponsor or an Open after '09 -- is anybody's guess, but it will depend on its own demographics and needs, not the desires of golf purists.

It is the purists who buy into the traditional line that an outstanding course translates into an outstanding field.

The Abbey has received mixed reviews from PGA Tour players, but even if the Open were held every year at Hamilton, with the raves it has received, the number of marquee names still would be few.

As much as tour players talk up venue as an important part of making their decisions on where to play, it's actually only a minor factor these days.

What chance does the Canadian Open have when even the over-hyped FedEx Cup playoffs, which put the Open in such an awkward position on the schedule, are being blown off by the likes of Tiger Woods, Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson?

That being the case, can a tournament right after the British Open in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary or Vancouver be seen as anything other than a week off by marquee players, whose whining fuels the fire of those who feel their own testosterone levels rise when they question the status of golfers as athletes?

The players' latest pout is about their lack of input into how the fiasco that is the playoffs has been set up, but if they were so upset, why didn't they go public with their concerns a long time ago when everyone outside the tour was teeing off on the new post-season set-up?

Now that it's clear that the criticism was justified, some of the big names in golf are jumping on the bandwagon, even though it was them who wanted a shortened season in the first place, which placed a lot of events behind the this week's Tour Championship in a graveyard on the schedule.

The "independent contractor" card is played all the time when players blow off tournaments, but in how many other businesses do you see independent contractors called on to make important decisions for companies that use their services?

SELFISHNESS

This all-about-me thing is getting tiresome, especially since the only reason some players are ticked about the playoffs is because they have to play four weeks in a row if they go all the way.

The tour is far from innocent. It's a marketing machine in overdrive, trying to manufacture big-ticket events almost on a weekly basis throughout the summer, which changes the nature of a schedule that used to peak when the majors were played. It's an engine fuelled by greed and ego that is about to blow.

It's in this toxic environment that the Canadian Open must struggle to survive.

The choice of Glen Abbey for the '09 Open is the least of the RCGA's concerns right now.


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