|Carl Pettersson holds the 2010 RBC Canadian Open Trophy at St. George's Golf Club in Toronto last July. (Stan Behal/QMI Agency)
VANCOUVER -- King Carl is back.
But if broad-shouldered Swede Carl Pettersson wants to keep his crown at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open, he'll have to master a golf course he'd never laid eyes on before this week.
With the our national open championship moving around the country, Pettersson will try to repeat his feat at Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club on the West Coast, about 3,500 km from the site of his triumph last July at St. George's Golf & Country Club in Toronto.
"It's nice to be back as the defending champion. It's a little different since it's not the same golf course, but anytime you've won a tournament and come back, you always get a good vibe," Pettersson said. "It's nice to come back and see your picture here and there, and it always brings back good memories of what you did last year.
"But again, this is a new year."
The US$5.2-million RBC Canadian Open tees off Thursday at Shaughnessy, with Pettersson among the headliners in a star-studded field that also features Luke Donald, Ernie Els, Rickie Fowler, Anthony Kim, Matt Kuchar, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Canada's own Stephen Ames and Mike Weir.
Two-time Canadian Open champion Jim Furyk is also here to try to complete his hat-trick, while Mark Calcavecchia, who won at Shaughnessy in 2005, entered the Senior British Open instead.
The way Pettersson was talking about the 7,010-yard setup after Tuesday's practice round under sunny skies in Vancouver, you'd think he had been a member at Shaughnessy for years.
"This golf course is one of the best we've played all year," Pettersson said. "The golf course is very good. It's set up like a U.S. Open-style, major golf course. It's very demanding off the tee. The rough is up. The greens are small. It's a great golf course. I wish we played more golf courses like this."
Pettersson wouldn't mind playing more golf like he did at the 2010 RBC Canadian Open.
The 43-year-old barely survived the cut at St. George's but fired a career-best round of 60 in Saturday's third round and shaved three more strokes off par on his final lap.
With a four-day total of 14-under 266, he clipped Hawaii's Dean Wilson by a single stroke for his fourth career victory on the PGA Tour.
"It was a cool weekend -- shooting 60 and playing well on Sunday and winning the tournament sort of out of the blue," Pettersson recalled. "A similar thing could happen this week. The way the golf course is set up, you could have somebody make the cut on the number and shoot up the leaderboard."
Just don't expect anybody to shoot 60.
With tiny putting surfaces and rough that's nearly as long as Fowler's mop of hair, Pettersson doesn't think that's a possibility at the latest instalment of the RBC Canadian Open.
"Maybe after 14 holes or something," Pettersson quipped.