The Countdown is Over
Pictured above: Defending RBC Canadian Open champion Tim Clark of South Africa and 2014 low Canadian Graham deLaet of Weyburn, SK
The field is set and the golf course is in fantastic shape as the PGA Tour makes its annual stop in Canada this week for the RBC Canadian Open
The stars of the PGA TOUR will take to Glen Abbey Golf Club for the 106th playing of the RBC Canadian Open starting Thursday, July 23. The 2015 edition of Canada’s National Open Championship marks the 27th time that the competition will be held at the historic club in Oakville, Ontario with 156 players vying for a US$5.8 million purse.
Defending champion Tim Clark will be challenged by a stellar field of PGA Tour stars including World No. 3 Bubba Watson, World No. 6 and two-time RBC Canadian Open champion Jim Furyk, World No. 9 Jason Day, World No. 13 J.B. Holmes, World No. 15 Matt Kuchar, World No. 22 Brooks Koepka, World No. 26 and 2013 RBC Canadian Open Champion Brandt Snedeker, World No. 30 Ryan Palmer, World No. 44 Charley Hoffman, World No. 55 Graeme McDowell and World No. 64 Luke Donald, as well as, World Golf Hall of Fame member Ernie Els.
Other notable additions to the field for the 106th playing of Canada’s National Open Championship include 34-time PGA TOUR winner Vijay Singh, 20-time winner Davis Love III, 12-time winner Justin Leonard, 12-time winner Steve Stricker, eight-time winner K.J. Choi, seven-time winner Retief Goosen, six-time winner Rory Sabbatini and three-time winner Angel Cabrera.
Clark, who captured the 2014 RBC Canadian Open trophy at The Royal Montreal Golf Club in Île-Bizard, Que., will be joined by nine other former champions including Team RBC members Brandt Snedeker – who won in 2013 at Glen Abbey Golf Club – and Jim Furyk who claimed back-to-back championships in 2006 and 2007. Other confirmed past champions include Scott Piercy (2012), Sean O’Hair (2011), Carl Pettersson (2010), Nathan Green (2009), Chez Reavie (2008), Vijay Singh (2004), and John Rollins (2002).
The return to Glen Abbey also holds significance for Hunter Mahan. The Dallas native has fond memories from the 2013 RBC Canadian Open, where he held the 36-hole lead with a two-stroke advantage. Despite leading, he withdrew and tended to his wife who had gone into labour.
“It’s unfortunate that it had to happen at the time it did,” Mahan explained. “I was still playing so good, and this is a place that I do want to win at and be the RBC Canadian Open champion. It’s something I want to be, but it is what it is. It’s a great moment in my life. I still have great memories here, and hopefully will continue that play into this week.”
16 CANADIANS IN THE FIELD
Leading the Canadian contingent will be World No. 80 Graham DeLaet of Weyburn, Sask., who recorded a fourth-place finish last month at the Travelers Championship, as well as, David Hearn of Brantford, Ont., who will look to build on a playoff runner-up finish at The Greenbrier Classic.
“Winning the RBC Canadian Open would mean a lot, without a doubt,” said Hearn. “Winning any PGA TOUR tournament would mean a lot. It just doesn’t happen that often. To be able to do it in Canada in front of everybody here would be the highlight of my career.”
Pat Fletcher was the last Canadian winner, having claimed victory in 1954 at Point Grey Golf & Country Club in Vancouver. The significance of an RBC Canadian Open champion from the host nation is not lost on Graham DeLaet.
“It would mean everything for me,” said the Weyburn, Sask., native. “This is a major for us. I couldn’t imagine what it would do. I know how much support and how much kids look up to us. Obviously (winning) would take it kind of to a new level, but we all want to win this. Not just for ourselves, but for everybody else who just wants to end (the drought).”
PGA TOUR rookies and Abbotsford, B.C., natives Adam Hadwin and Nick Taylor, along with Roger Sloan of Merritt, B.C., will also be in the field alongside Web.com Tour player Brad Fritsch of Manotick, Ont. Team Canada will be well-represented with Young Pro Squad members Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., Taylor Pendrith of Richmond Hill, Ont. and Adam Svensson of Surrey, B.C., as well as, National Amateur Squad members Austin Connelly of Irving, Texas and Blair Hamilton of Burlington, Ont.
Connelly’s 2015 Pan Am Games Team Canada teammate Garrett Rank of Elmira, Ont., will be in the field after earning an exemption through his 2014 Canadian Men’s Mid-Amateur victory.
PGA of Canada professional Billy Walsh of Markham, Ont., earned his way into the 2015 RBC Canadian Open field as the No. 1-ranked player on the PGA of Canada Player Rankings presented by RBC.
Former Team Canada member Richard Jung of Toronto earned his exemption into the field by topping the 144-player field at the RBC Canadian Open Regional Qualifier in Ontario.
Justin Shin of Pitt Meadow, BC earned his way into the field for this week’s RBC Canadian Open by being the leading scorer in the Monday Final Qualifier with a 7-under-par round of 64 at Heron Point Golf Links in Alberton, Ont. After opening with a bogey, Shin would go to record six birdies and an eagle to earn low qualifying honours.
“I was pretty pumped for this week and I’m really excited,” said Shin. “It has been my dream to play in the RBC Canadian Open. I’ve wanted to play it ever since I was a junior. I really enjoyed it out there today with my buddy caddying for me.”
Shin is currently ranked fourth on the PGA TOUR China Order of Merit with a win at the 2015 United Investment Real Estate Wuhan Open. He recently finished T6 in the Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada’s The Players Cup in Winnipeg, Man.
Golf Canada has confirmed that Canadian Golf Hall of Fame member Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., has withdrawn from the event for personal reasons. Weir was slated to make his 25th appearance at the RBC Canadian Open.
GREENING THE 2015 RBC CANADIAN OPEN
This year’s RBC Canadian Open is set to be the greenest yet. RBC, Golf Canada and other partners and suppliers have come together to ensure that environmental best practices are again being implemented.
“We are committed to reducing the environmental impacts of the RBC Canadian Open every year,” said Brent McLaughlin, tournament director for the RBC Canadian Open. “Glen Abbey is a great foundation for our environmental initiatives, we have a solid track record of environmental programming here and the golf course has been certified as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary since 2004.”
Earlier this year, the 2014 RBC Canadian Open was recognized for its environmental initiatives and named as a winner of the Sustainability Challenge. For 2015, there are new initiatives that will help to divert more waste from landfill. Additional information regarding the key environmental initiatives at the 2015 RBC Canadian Open can be found here.
The following are television times for the 2015 RBC Canadian Open:
Thursday July 23: TSN/ The Golf Channel – 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Friday July 24: TSN/ The Golf Channel – 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday July 25: Global/ CBS – 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Sunday July 26: Global/ CBS – 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
With files from Golf Canada, Mackenzie Tour / PGA Tour Canada, Fairways Magazine and the PGA Tour.