The third oldest National Open Golf Championship returns to the Hamilton Golf & Country Club (HG&CC) this week for the 6th time. The RBC Canadian Open has a fine and storied history in the Steel City and it dates back a full century.
The historic HG&CC was founded in 1894, making it among the oldest clubs in Canada. Their third location was just five years old when they welcomed the best players in the world for the 1st time, in 1919.
Englishman James Douglas Edgar was a force to be reckoned with that week. Fresh to North America, having emigrated to be the Head Professional at Druid Hills Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia in April of that same year, he was not to be denied a win.
The 1914 French Open Champion toured the new Harry S. Colt design at Hamilton in a total of 278 strokes with scores of 72-71-69-68 to win by a sixteen-shot margin. He did so over a bevy of fine players. Finishing in a tie for second were the trio of Bobby Jones, eventual 4-time major champion Jim Barnes, and Canadian Karl Keffer. Keffer is the only Canadian-born winner of the Canadian Open to date, in 1909 and 1914.
Edgar would return to Canada in 1920 to successfully defend the title at Rivermead Golf Club in Gatineau, Quebec.
Sadly, he was dead by August of 1921 the age of 36 in the streets of Atlanta where he was found wounded and bleeding according to accounts. His mysterious death was never solved and the subject of a book, To Win and Die in Dixie, by Steve Eubanks.
The Hamilton Golf & Country Club would go on to host the RBC Canadian Open in 1930, 2003, 2006, and 2012, and now, in 2019.