July 11, 2012
Not all golfers Open to Canadian offer
By TIM McKAY, QMI Agency
The talk about the Canadian Open this past week has been based on who will accept exemptions and who won't.
Richard Scott of Kingsville, Ont., has declined his exemption to focus on his quest for a PGA Tour card and, frankly, he made the right call.
"Right now, the main goal is to get on the PGA Tour full time," he told golf writer Ian Hutchinson this week, making it clear his priorities are in the right spot.
At 27th on the Web.com Tour money list (the top 25 get PGA Tour cards at the end of the season), Scott can ill afford to skip a week, especially on the heels of a third-place finish in his past event that signals his game is in good shape. He's just $8,000 outside of the top 25 and, while tempting, playing the Canadian Open would not be the prudent decision.
Also reported this week is that veteran Mike Weir, the 42-year-old from Bright's Grove, Ont., is mulling over whether he will play in the national open he dearly covets. Globe and Mail columnist Lorne Rubenstein wrote Tuesday that it appears Weir will tee it up in Hamilton, his first PGA Tour event since shooting 83-81 at the Memorial Tournament in early June.
While Weir playing surely is what Canadian fans want, he really can't go wrong either way.
If he plays poorly -- his nine missed cuts this season suggest he may -- the fans will still cheer the 2003 Masters champ based on his legacy. If he plays well and makes the cut, it will be a victory for his flagging confidence. If he doesn't play at all, people will understand.
Some feel Weir's confidence could be shaken should he play badly and get media attention. But if that's a concern for him -- you have to think someone who toiled for years on tours all over the world before making his mark on the PGA Tour would have thicker skin than that -- he shouldn't tee it up anywhere until he feels his swing, currently being worked on by coach Grant Waite, is ready.
Two more Canadian Open exemptions will be awarded next week following the Canadian Tour Players Cup in Winnipeg and some great young players are in line for those. Matt Hill of Sarnia, Ont., Corey Renfrew of Victoria, B.C., and Michael Gligic of Burlington, Ont., hold down the top three spots on the Canadian Tour Order of Merit.
Tournament director Bill Paul also has a third exemption (Scott's) to fill and has said he will wait until after the Players Cup to do so.
While the Canadian Open is top of mind at the moment, there was a reminder this week that a major championship is coming to the same region next year.
Ryan Cannon, the 2013 PGA Championship director, was in Toronto to kick off the tournament's pre-sale ticket registration campaign. The PGA Championship is returning to Oak Hill, near Rochester, N.Y., site of Shaun Micheel's clutch approach shot to a few inches on 18 in 2003.
Cannon said many Canadians have signed up to volunteer for the event and that there are a few spots left, but he says golf fans can take advantage of having a major championship so close, too.
"The Canadian Open is a fantastic event," Cannon said. "It's really cool that that's going to be (in Hamilton) and then next year, to have a major championship just a couple hours south; it's a great time to be a golf fan if you're living in the greater Toronto area or in lower Ontario."
He also spoke to the fact that in today's game, anyone is capable of winning, and it should be a thrill to watch a stellar field play at the challenging Donald Ross-designed Oak Hill East course next August.
"I think the parity in the game right now is phenomenal," Cannon said. "Every single week on tours around the world, not just on the PGA Tour, there are so many good players. The younger players coming up, they just have no fear. Not only are they physically capable but they're mentally capable. They just have a mind-set that they can go out and beat anybody and nobody can tell them that they can't."
Oak Hill has been host of U.S. Opens, the Ryder Cup and, coming up, the storied venue's third PGA Championship.
"The East course definitely has proven itself as one of the most challenging, yet fair, venues or golf courses in all the world, really," Cannon said. "The players, they love it, for that reason. It challenges the players, it makes them think. It's a very strategic golf course, yet it does so in a fair and equitable way in that if you hit a quality golf shot, not only that's struck solidly but is also the appropriate shot, and you're rewarded for that.
"And you have to do that over 72 holes under major championship pressure and in front of the eyes of the world. Whoever does that the best for four days will put their hands on the Wanamaker Trophy."
For ticket or volunteer information, check out the website at www.pga.com/pgachampionship/2013.
ON THE TEE
John Deere Classic
TPC Deere Run (7,268 yards, par 71), Silvis, Ill.
Steve Stricker going for fourth consecutive win here
Castle Stuart Golf Links (7,050 yards, 6,447 metres, par 72), Inverness, Scotland
Defending champion Luke Donald getting in a tuneup for next week's British Open