The collegiate golf season is over, but with both UGA teams advancing to the NCAA post season... unfortunately not competing for the championship. In case you were wondering, Duke won the Women’s D1 Championship in somewhat of an upset, but not really, just kinda sorta (they have 6 or 7 national titles in Women’s golf, so it can’t really be a surprise). Stanford captured the Men’s crown. Being a #6 seed in the 8 team match play format, they were on the favorable side of the draw (i.e. opposite side of juggernaut Oklahoma State), advanced steadily to the championship match, and watched on the sidelines as Okie St. was upset by rival Texas in the other semi-final. Then dispatched the Longhorns pretty as you please.
So with that over with, and the advent of summer, we turn our golfing attention back to the pros full-time. Or is that just me?
Tournament: RBC Canadian Open, June 6-9, 2019
Course: Hamilton Golf & CC, 6,966 yards, par 70. This is the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Open being played at Hamilton, so it returns here after having spent most of the last decade at Glen Abbey. Based on the yardage, this is a short course but I have no recollection of it, so I don’t have much to add. I do know that they’ve got some extra thick rough (like 2-3 feet high), I’m just not sure how close to the primary rough it is and if it will be in play this week.
However let’s consider the timing. This is usually a July tourney... after the British Open and before the August WGC events. But with all the other schedule moves (which I’ve detailed before, but glad to revisit), the RBC Canadian was pushed into early June. A couple of weeks after the PGA Championship, but the week preceding the US Open. And since the US Open will be played at Pebble Beach, and that is a relatively short course with tight fairways, brutal rough, and tiny greens... I think it’s safe to say the move to Hamilton is to give next week’s US Open entrants a taste of what they can expect at Pebble. Thus, my deductive reasoning tells me this will be a tight course, with brutal rough, and with smaller yet undulating greens. There. You’re welcome.
Fun Fact: A Canadian has not won this, their national championship, in 65 years. There have been some close calls, and Canada has recently turned out some good pros (Hadwin, Hughes, DeLaet, Conners) but none have snagged the top prize. And believe me, Canadian pride is pretty high and they consider this “their major”. If you think the Raptors fandom winning the NBA is big, wait until a Canadian wins this. They will rename Mississauga in their honor.
Bonus Fun Fact: entered this week is a Canadian named Ryan Yip. I don’t like his chances if it comes down to a pressure putt on Sunday.
Defending Champion: Dustin Johnson. He gained momentum each day in a week where the scoring was pretty easy. Then he used Sunday to separate himself from the pack, and shot 65-66 on the weekend to claim the honors.
Television: Thursday-Friday, 3-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 1-2:45 p.m. (GC), 3-6 p.m. (CBS). We should be back to a full summer of Nick Faldo fumbling with his spectacles and rolling his eyes at Jim Nantz.
The Canadian Open, now sponsored by Canada’s 2nd largest bank, is not exactly a major. But it’s been played for well over a century and still has some luster to it’s name. Jack won here, so did Trevino, Palmer, Hagen, Snead, Weiskopf, and some upstart named Tiger. Woods isn’t playing this week, notably not playing much between the majors based on the compressed schedule, but the field does contain some big names. That includes Rory McIlroy, PGA Champion and upcoming defending US Open Champion Brooks Koepka, the aforementioned Dustin Johnson, and 8 former Bulldogs.
‘Dawgs in the Field: Brian Harman, Hudson Swafford, Harris English, Brendon Todd, Russell Henley, Bubba Watson, Sepp Straka, and Joey Garber. When you think about it, most of those are very golf-like names, wouldn’t you agree?
There are baseball Super-Regionals which we’re not a part of, and I think that’s the only NCAA sanctioned sport not to have decided it’s champion. So golf might be a logical choice to watch this weekend, unless you’re liking the NBA finals, the WNBA, or that football sport that’s not really football. Feel free to flip it on over to Golf Channel and CBS for ‘Dawgs chasing little white balls, in the Land of Labatt. And as always...