Fewer chal­lenges

Cana­dian Open weather and course pro­vide stark con­trasts to Bri­tish Open

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY STEPHEN WHYNO OAKVILLE, ONT.

Golfers at the Cana­dian Open should put away their um­brel­las and grab their sun­screen.

Af­ter rain and wind de­layed the Bri­tish Open and forced the first Mon­day fin­ish since 1988, weather is set­ting up al­most per­fectly for Canada’s na­tional open at Glen Abbey Golf Club.

Now that the wet, wild and windy time in Scot­land is over, the al­most 30 golfers turn­ing around to play the RBC Cana­dian Open are look­ing for­ward to some dry weather and a course that pro­vides a stark con­trast to St. An­drews.

“You’re ex­pect­ing hard, tough con­di­tions at the Bri­tish Open, at The Open Cham­pi­onship. But not un­playable weather and con­di­tions,” said Jason Day, who tied for fourth at the Bri­tish. “You can at­tack this golf course a lot more.”

Golf Canada CEO Scott Sim­mons knocked on the wood ta­ble in front of him even dis­cussing the weather. But the forecast is for mostly a clean four rounds of play.

That’s a world of dif­fer­ence from the wind-beaten, rain­soaked Bri­tish Open that was forced to fin­ish Mon­day. The Cana­dian Open, back at Glen Abbey for the 27th time, is a more pre­dictable style of game.

“You can get a lot more un­lucky over there,” said Cana­dian Graham DeLaet, who fin­ished tied for 68th at the Bri­tish. “Usu­ally when you hit the ball on the fair­way, it stays on the fair­way here. When you hit a ball and land the ball on the green, you know about how far it’s go­ing to go be­fore it (stops).”

The charm of links golf in Scot­land and the chal­lenge that presents in one of golf ’s four ma­jors is valu­able. But the Cana­dian Open should be a more en­joy­able ex­pe­ri­ence for play­ers and those watch­ing in per­son and on tele­vi­sion.

One el­e­ment of that is the weather, where tem­per­a­tures are fore­casted to hover just be­low 30 de­grees and three of four days shouldn’t have rain. There’s a 30 per cent chance of rain Satur­day af­ter­noon.

“It’s pretty ex­cit­ing to think of a Cana­dian Open no rain, isn’t it?” Cana­dian David Hearn said.

Day, world No. 3 Bubba Wat­son, No. 7 Jim Furyk, DeLaet and Hearn are among the play­ers who barely dried out be­fore get­ting on the char­ter flight back to Toronto for the Cana­dian Open. The Mon­day fin­ish gave them a late start to their prepa­ra­tions

But their first look at the course was a favourable one, even if wind might make the greens faster and raise the de­gree of dif­fi­culty.

“It’s in un­be­liev­able shape, the best I’ve ever seen it,” DeLaet said. “It’s firm, quick. There are some balls rolling down the fair­way. If you get some­thing down­wind, you can hit one hard.”

The 524-yard par-5 18th will give play­ers plenty of ea­gle op- por­tu­ni­ties and the fan ex­cite­ment the comes with it. But play­ers still con­sider the Cana­dian Open de­mand­ing.

Hearn, a na­tive of Brant­ford, Ont., doesn’t want this to be easy and doesn’t mind if Glen Abbey has “a lit­tle bit of teeth” this time around.

DeLaet and Hearn head­line the group of 16 Cana­di­ans in the field. No Cana­dian has won this tour­na­ment since Pat Fletcher in 1954.

De­fend­ing cham­pion Tim Clark is back, one of eight pre­vi­ous win­ners: Furyk, Scott Piercy, Sean O’Hair, Nathan Green, Chez Reavie, Vi­jah Singh and John Rollins.

Wat­son, who missed the cut at the Bri­tish Open, is a two-time Mas­ters win­ner, but he’s tak­ing spe­cial value in the Cana­dian Open in part be­cause his wife, Angie, is from Pickering, Ont.

“Any tro­phy is a good one,” Wat­son said. “Any time you can hold a tro­phy — ma­jor, non­ma­jor, doesn’t mat­ter — hold­ing a tro­phy is what we’re try­ing to do.”

“It’s in un­be­liev­able shape, the best I’ve ever seen it. It’s firm, quick. There are some balls rolling down the fair­way. If you get some­thing down­wind, you can hit one hard.” Graham DeLaet, de­scrib­ing the Cana­dian Open course

CP PHOTO

David Hearn, from Brant­ford, Ont., signs a young fan’s shirt dur­ing the pro-am event at the Cana­dian Open golf tour­na­ment Wed­nes­day in Oakville, Ont.

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