RBC Canadian Open Hopes Changes Make For Increase In Relevance
The RBC Canadian Open teed off today at Ontario's Hamilton Golf & Country Club with its "new date, a new slogan ... an increased purse, and quite possibly, an increased relevance on the PGA Tour," according to Jon McCarthy of the TORONTO SUN. This marks the first year the event will be played the week before the U.S. Open after for years sitting the week after the Open Championship, and the new date "didn’t just fall on the RBC Canadian Open’s lap." PGA Tour Chief of Operations & Competitions Andy Pazder said, "I don’t know that I would call it lobbying per se. I think it was more raising their hand saying ‘I think we’re ready for the next stage of our evolution as a national open.’" RBC Exec VP & CMO Mary DePaoli said, "Being earlier in the season was positive, not following the British Open was a positive, and not being before a WGC was a positive. So we just felt very good when that call came." Four top-10 players are in the field for this year's event: Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas (TORONTO SUN, 6/4). The GLOBE & MAIL's Jeff Brooke notes the Canadian Open has "sold out its tickets for the second and third rounds and nearly its fourth," as the presence of players like McIlroy has made the event a "lot more energized." The field is "easily the strongest since RBC took over title sponsorship in 2008, if not even further back than that." The new date "has been a huge enticement" for top players (GLOBE & MAIL, 6/6).
SINK OR SWING: In Toronto, Damien Cox wrote it is "now up to the RBC Canadian Open to soar -- or not -- on its own merits." With "many of the biggest stars in golf" competing, there can be "no more excuses." What once was "considered perhaps golf’s fifth major has in recent years become almost an afterthought, a third-tier event on the PGA Tour." But the "problems that created that depressing reality are basically all gone now, leaving a golf tournament being played at a prestigious club with all kinds of star power at a perfect spot on the calendar." Cox: "Let’s see what Golf Canada can do with it" (THESTAR.com, 6/3).