The Round Table: Nick Taylor makes Canadian sports history

Each week we ask our panel of writers, PGA members and golf industry experts to weigh in with their views on the hot topics of the day.

On Sunday, Nick Taylor sunk a 72-foot eagle putt on the fourth playoff hole to defeat Tommy Fleetwood and win the RBC Canadian Open, becoming the first Canadian in 69 years to win our national championship. How do you put Taylor’s victory in perspective and where does that eagle putt rank in terms of famous Canadian sporting moments?

Jim Deeks, Fairways Magazine (@jimdeeks): Just amazing!  This sort of thing usually seems to happen TO (as in, against) Canadians, not FOR us.  I was sitting in the Los Angeles airport when I got word of Taylor’s win, and I started to bawl… it was that emotional for me.  I was at St. George’s in 1968 when George Knudson came close, I watched Mike Weir lose in a playoff to Vijay Singh, I never thought a Canadian would do it in my lifetime.  How sweet is this?!!  Surely it ranks as high as Weir’s Masters win, as the Jays’ first World Series win, as Sidney Crosby’s gold medal-winning goal, as Brooke Henderson’s first major, and going way back, as the Leafs’ last Stanley Cup, or Sandy Somerville’s win in the US Amateur in 1932 (I wasn’t there for that one).  Well done, Nick Taylor, you’ve made us all proud and overjoyed.

Craig Loughry, Golf Ontario (@craigloughry): Geesh, this moment was epic, no doubting that. If this was a MAJOR, it would be number one in golf history for me. This has to be a top 10 Canadian sporting moment of all time; it is for me. There are some Olympic gold medals, Weir’s Masters, Brooke Henderson first Major win, Blue Jays World Series, Bianca Andreescu winning a Major as a teenager, and a hockey series that I would only rank ahead. So, yeah top 10.

Michael Schurman, Master Professional / Hall of Fame Member, PGA of Canada: The first thing to establish is the accomplishment must be performed by a Canadian.  Second, the period of time lapsed since the record was set. 3. The situation. 4. The amount of time to accomplish it. Crosby’s Golden Goal, Henderson’s miracle and Bill Barilko’s overtime winner were all performed within a split second. Right player, in the right place at the right time. Bailey’s world record is tough to beat but it was over in less than 10 seconds. However, Andreescu’s US Open against the greatest female player of all-time stands out to me as does Terry Fox’s run. As a golfer, I’d say Balding becoming the first Canadian to win on the PGA TOUR is pretty strong. Taylor edges out Mike Weir in a photo finish only because Nick’s is a Canadian winning our Canadian championship on Canadian soil erasing a 69-year-old record. after 4 days of play and in a play-off checks all the boxes.

Peter Mumford, Fairways Magazine (@FairwaysMag): Wow! What a performance. Nick was so focused I think you could have set firecrackers off behind him and he wouldn’t have flinched. Having a Canadian win the Canadian Open after 69 years is pretty sweet and renews my hope that the Leafs can break their own slump. (55 years and counting.) In sporting terms, it ranks right up there with the Jay’s first World Series, Mike Weir’s Masters win, Canada’s Gold medal in hockey in 2010 and Canada’s win in the Summit Series against Russia in 1972. And the 72-foot eagle putt? Definitely a Top 5 Shot anytime, anywhere, any sport. Right there with Joe Carter’s home run, Sidney Crosby’s Golden Goal and Bobby Orr’s flying through the air Stanley Cup winner. Definitely one for the history books.

The proposed PGA Tour – LIV Golf merger overshadowed much of the golf world last week. Details are still to be worked out but one of the architects of the deal, Jimmy Dunne, a big shot Wall Street financier and PGA Tour Policy Board member, thinks that LIV Golfers need to be punished and pay a penalty if they want to come back to the Tour. Do you think they should pay a penalty? And if not, how should they be re-integrated into the PGA Tour?

Deeks: Yes, I do think they should be compelled to pay some sort of penance for turning their backs on the PGA Tour.  A friend of mine has suggested they should each pay back a large proportion of the funds they were paid by the LIV Tour to defect… and this money should go to charity, or perhaps a PGA Tour Foundation that promotes golf development and good values. (If there isn’t such a Foundation, then the Tour should create one.)  Prior to that, though, they should all be forced to go to Q-School and re-earn their right to play on the Tour.  If they qualify, pay 50% of their LIV money to the Foundation, then welcome back.  If they don’t qualify, then hasta la vista, baby… permanently.

Schurman: This question is hypothetical until the PGA TOUR announces how they going to integrate the two tours. If the LIV Tour continues to function for a couple of years alongside the PGA TOUR, the LIV players can simply play out their contracts. Once they are free agents, they should be able to rejoin the PGA TOUR by following the existing qualifying process. In other words, they should have to go through the process of qualifying for their card/membership on a secondary tour and work their way back up. Remember, they have no status except for LIV which does not provide an opportunity to earn ranking points. As major champions and past champions, they can accept sponsor exemptions and based on money earned they can re-establish their TOUR membership. There’s no fair method to punish them. Other players were offered the same contract with LIV and decided it wasn’t for them. It is no different than an MLB player accepting $100M to play in the Japanese League and then wanting to return to the USA after their contract expires. Or a person taking ownership of John Gotti’s personal limousine as a gift and selling it for a profit.

Loughry: I’m not sure where this will lead. Maybe the “penalty” is that they don’t get purse money for any PGA Tour event they play in, and that extra money is distributed amongst the non-LIV players for the 2024-2025 seasons. Sort of like Amateurs forfeiting winnings in Professional events. And all golfers go to the same footing in the 2026 season. That way LIV players have their way back without much harm to PGA Tour players. How they make them all “whole” rewarded for loyalty and equitably is a dog’s breakfast.

Mumford: LIV golfers have already lost two season’s worth of world rankings and FedEx Cup points so only a handful will be in the Top 50 next year and many won’t have any PGA Tour status at all. Any penalty is pointless and only creates ill feelings when they’re trying to bring everyone together. Some LIV golfers will have to go through Q-school, while others can use past champion status and world rankings to play on Tour. A lot of these guys are fan favourites and Jimmy Dunne and the vengeful crowd would be shooting themselves in the foot if they held them back. Besides, punishment is for people who did something wrong. The LIV players made a decision in the best interest of themselves and their families. Maybe it was disloyal but not wrong.

The U.S. Open kicks off this week at LA Country Club with perhaps the strongest field in professional golf this year. Who’s your pick to win and give us a longshot choice that might be a surprise contender?

Deeks: My pick to win is Nick Taylor.  Longshot to win?  Nick Taylor.

Schurman: Pick to win…. Brooks K. Long shot Tommy Fleetwood and Nick Taylor.

Loughry: I’m not going out on a limb here but Brooks Koepka I think will be the favourite considering how the first two Majors have played out. Scheffler is no slouch either. My longshot contender would be Morikawa, he’s shown spots of brilliance, and he’s been quiet the last few weeks prepping.

Mumford: It’s hard to go against Brooks Koepka. He and majors seem made for each other. For a surprise contender I’m going to go with Adam Hadwin. He was totally pumped watching his friend Nick Taylor win the RBC Canadian Open and provided the security guard didn’t do any physical damage when he was tackled, I think he’ll still be riding high this week in LA.

The Round Table
The Round Table is a panel of golf writers, PGA members and industry experts.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *