CanTour helped Green get a leg up

IAN HUTCHINSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:53 AM ET

Before anybody gets too excited about a guy from Toronto winning the 2009 RBC Canadian Open, remember that low Canadian honours went to Chris Baryla of Vernon, B.C., and Calgary's Stephen Ames yesterday at Glen Abbey -- and they tied for eighth.

The champion, Nathan Green, hails from Toronto in New South Wales in the land of Oz, just over 100 kilometres north of Sydney, Australia, but he appreciated all things Canadian even before collecting a cheque for $918,000 US after yesterday's two-hole playoff against Retief Goosen.

The Aussie version of Toronto was named after its Canadian counterpart in honour of Ned Hanlan, a legendary rower who visited the area in the late 1800s. Of course, Hanlan's Point, out on the islands, is named after Hanlan's family, but nobody told Green it's now a nude beach.

"Toronto is just like a small suburb," Green said of his Toronto. "It's sort of got one main street. It's a beautiful part of the world, but yeah, it's just strange to think I've had three wins in my whole career and two of them have been in the greater Toronto area."

The other Canadian win for Green actually came in Sudbury back in 2000, when he was on the tail end of a three-year stay on the Canadian Tour, which holds cherished memories. Green would come over to Canada to stay active in what was winter in Australia.

"In those three years, we always bought a car over on Vancouver Island and drove it all the way across (Canada)," he said of cross-country tours with other players.

"The first few years, we had some sort of Ford bus. It was sort of a little truck thing and then, the next few years, we just bought a car between two of us and trekked all the way across and it's just a beautiful country," Green said.

"That was the greatest thing we saw, driving through the Rockies, which is probably the most beautiful place I've ever been.

"We'd get to Toronto and have a good time here and head back to Australia and start to get ready for our summer tour down there," said Green, who still has a fondness for Toronto despite the strike by city workers that reached a tentative conclusion yesterday.

"We didn't know what was going on. In certain areas, there was a little bit of a funk, but it wasn't too bad down there actually this week," he said. "We've done the same thing the last few years -- stayed downtown," Green said. "You're sort of going against traffic at rush hour (to Glen Abbey).

"It's a great town. You've got great restaurants. We go to a ball game and that's part of why I think I've played well the last few years here or in the past is that you have a great time when you come here. It's one of those weeks you actually look forward to for your time off-course as well, so it has been a great week."

It's been an especially great week in that Green was merely hoping to keep his Tour card, but instead slogged through a soaked Glen Abbey to earn his first career win, a two-year Tour exemption and spots in a variety of prestigious events including the 2009 PGA Championship and 2010 Masters.

"The one thing I sort of realized once I made the playoff was that I was going to keep my card, which is huge," he said.


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