A few tidbits from early in the week here in Ancaster, Ontario – home of the Hamilton Golf & Country Club and the 103rd playing of the RBC Canadian Open.
– Discovered that Flagstick Magazine columnist and Golf Canada Rules Committee Chair Dean Ryan of Ottawa was the Walking Rules Official for Ernie Els on Sunday at the Open Championship. A great way to wrap up his 4th year as a Rules Official at the World’s Oldest Major Golf Championship.
-Speaking of Ernie, the now 4-time major champion arrived by helicopter at Hamilton G&CC on Wednesday. He also brought a nice treat with him into the media room – the Claret Jug. More than a few people were seen getting a picture with it. I managed a close look and a touch but wasn’t forward enough to ask for a photo with it in my hands. Despite having only played five holes on the course here on Tuesday, Ernie says he is fresh and ready to go.
– The TaylorMade Tour truck carries 25 heads in each of loft of every driver model each week out on tour. Kingston native Shawn Mullin is one of the Tour Reps for the company which had the only tour workshop van on-site this week in Hamilton. It was on the grounds until Wednesday afternoon and was a beehive of activity.
-Manotick’s Brad Fritsch found his way to the chair next to me in the media room Wednesday afternoon. This is the big hitters second go at the the Canadian Open at Hamilton, having also played here in 2006. He likes the course but says it is not quite as “roomy” as he might like. He expects to hit a lot of hybrids off the tee this week.
-Also of note about Fritsch, he has the new Titleist 913 driver in the bag after a switch to it two weeks ago. He still plays a Titleist 906 fairway wood which he informed me he acquired just like you or I might…off of eBay.
-Spent some time with noted teacher, golf course owner, and course designer Rick Smith on Tuesday evening. A great guy who exudes very positive energy. He is doing work here with Rory Sabbatini and says he likes what he is seeing from his pupil of late. Smith is doing a lot of work in China these days and also mentioned that his TreeTops Resort in Northern Michigan is back on the upswing after enduring a few years of a tough Michigan economy.
-Managed some time as well with Smith’s student, Sabbatini, during an off-site event with the staff from ACCRA Golf Shafts in Niagara Falls Tuesday evening. Always good to see players in a more personal light. A fun guy.
-Former Loyalist Country Club Head Professional Michael Compeau is on the bag for Canadian Matt McQuillan this week in Hamilton. It is just the second Canadian Open for McQuillan and he says he loves the course. He played off-site Wednesday (most of the players not in the pro-am did this) at the Mississaugua Golf Club. A few media guys mentioned to me how well they thought McQuillan was hitting the ball on the range which is a positive sign. He is trying to make just his second cut of the year on the PGA Tour.
-If you want to see some great images from Ancaster be sure to check out the Golf Canada Facebook Page here.
-On Thursday I will be on course to follow the golfers with Eastern Ontario ties. That includes a Jon Mills and Rob Couture pairing at 9:10 a.m. and a juggling act between Brad Fritsch and Matt McQuillan who each tee off at 1:50 p.m. – unfortunately with one off the 1st tee and the other off the 10th. Wish me luck…