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Monday At St. Georges

A little more traditional Blog post tonight mixed into the many PGA Tour previews and wrap-ups I have been posting throughout the busy summer season.

I’ve managed to make my way to Toronto for a little coverage of the RBC Canadian Open.  There is nothing more appealing that having a national championship decided on a quality golf course and my first look today tells me this championship could be a memorable one.

Mike Weir Charity Classic Tee Blocks
Mike Weir Charity Classic Tee Blocks

The Mike Weir Charity Classic was the focal point today and some $350,000 was raised today for the Mike Weir Foundation.  Mike had a nice following today, as expected, but certainly not as large as I would have imagined.  He will be available Tuesday for some media interviews and I will be interested to hear more about the support band he was wearing on his forearm today.  He did not appeared to be too bothered by it so hopefully it is just some small nagging injury.

A few other notes from today:

-I toured the layout with Flagstick Rules Columnist and RBC Canadian Open Rules Chairman Dean Ryan and got a nice look at what the players should expect this week – most notably small, sloping greens, fairways that will run the ball off in all directions, and rough that is easily 8-10 inches deep in some spots.  It should show very well on TV

-Big kudos to the house near the 2nd green where the owners have managed to erect two-storey high scaffolding for a great view of the tournament.  If you know who they are then you MUST get an invite to their house this week.

Brilliant Backyard Scaffolding
Brilliant Backyard Scaffolding

-The practice facility is strange this week.  It is located down the road at the Islington Golf Club and despite what some spinmasters might say there are a few players already grumbling.  Unlike most Canadian Opens (due to the difficulty in dealing with customs and border services) there is ONE PGA Tour Equipment truck on the range this week.  TaylorMade Golf has their full tour van on-site and basically with the signage OWN the range.  Word is that it took 4 hours to get the big beast through the border paperwork.

-As for players today…it was a long pro-am.  Paul Casey was plumb tuckered after his battle with Oosthuizen at the Old Course then a flight over immediately afterward.  Retief Goosen was just plain grumpy; apparently he did not enjoy the waiting times playing behind the much-loved Leaf Dion Phaneuf who was being swamped for photos and autographs.  Not going to make you guess who was more popular here with the Toronto fans.  Hint : He is not a U.S. Open winner.

-Lastly, we will have to wait until Tuesday to see who makes it through the Monday qualfiier.  Being played at Bond Head, where the rough is a perfect place to lose a Great Dane, play was hampered by a lot of lost balls and rounds were running in the 6 hour range.  A playoff will be necessary Tuesday morning to decide the last spot.  Two Canadians, Jeffrey Puska of Ladysmith, B.C., and Dave Williamson of Halifax are the last men standing from what started as a 4-way playoff.  Chris Ross (son of former RCGA Executive Director Stephen Ross) of Dundas, Ontario, Beon Yeong Lee, an amateur from Montreal, and Lucas Lee of California have already earned their spots at St. George`s.

The nasty rough waits for players this week
The nasty rough waits for players this week
The view that waits for players on the 18th at St. George`s
The view that waits for players on the 18th at St. George`s