This week, on the heels of the historic victory by Titleist Brand Ambassador Jordan Spieth (Pro V1x) at this year’s British Open, the PGA Tour is contesting another national championship at the RBC Canadian Open.
This year marks the 40th anniversary since Glen Abbey Golf Club in Ontario first hosted the Canadian Open, a championship which was first held in 1904. Glen Abbey, a par-72, 7,253-yard layout designed by Jack Nicklaus, has hosted more Canadian Opens than any other course, welcoming 29 Opens to date.
Canadians are understandably proud of this championship and it’s reflected in the atmosphere this week, from the sea of red maple leaf flags in the galleries to the hockey rink fan experience constructed off of Glen Abbey’s 7th hole. It’s also evident in the enthusiastic support that patrons show to their Canadian sons in the field, including Titleist golf ball loyalists Mackenzie Hughes (Pro V1x) and David Hearn (Pro V1), as well as Titleist Brand Ambassador Graham DeLaet (Pro V1x), who recalled the warm reception he received when he climbed into contention at the 2014 Canadian Open.
“I remember coming up the 72nd hole at Royal Montreal,” Delaet said, “and even though I didn't have a chance to win coming up 18, they sang 'Oh, Canada' to me and they did that to Hearn, and Jared (du Toit), as well, last year. It's such a cool feeling. You feel like you're one of 35 million instead of one of 150 players.”
DeLaet will try to use that hometown support as fuel for a late season charge. It’s hard to believe, but only five events remain before the start of the FedExCup playoffs. DeLaet sits comfortably at No. 74 in the FedExCup point standings, but a strong finish or two can bolster his case for consideration as a Captain’s pick in the upcoming President’s Cup matches.
DeLaet said that overall driving will be a big key this week at Glen Abbey and he shared some insight into the challenges it will present.
“It's a completely different golf course this year,” DeLaet said. “I remember almost driving the third green last year or getting too close on 10 by hitting driver, and I hit great drives on both those holes yesterday and had pitching wedge and full gap in. The rough is thick, it's not super long, but around the greens there's kind of dodgy lies here and there. And the rough off the fairway -- there's been a few times the last couple days where it's jumped a little bit or come out a little bit dead.”
Graham did a great job of staying in the short grass on Thursday, opening with a 4-under-par 68. At the time of this writing he added two more birdies on the front nine of his second round to climb to T16 on the leaderboard. Mackenzie Hughes is currently at 5-under and David Hearn sits another shot back, a great start as these players battle to become the first Canadian to win the Canadian Open since Pat Fletcher did it in 1954.
Good luck to Graham, Mackenzie and David and good luck to all of TeamTitleist this week!
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TITLEIST BY THE NUMBERS
This week at the RBC Canadian Open, Titleist is once again the overwhelming golf ball choice, with 109 players trusting a Titleist Pro V1 or Pro V1x golf ball, more than six times the nearest competitor with 16 and more than all competitors combined.
Titleist was also the top choice among players in the hybrids category (32) as well as the irons category with 48 sets in play. Vokey Design Wedges also topped the approach, sand and lob wedge (224) category and Scotty Cameron putters were the top choice among players with 62 putters in play.
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- The Canadian Open is the third oldest continuously running tournament on the PGA Tour, after The Open Championship and the U.S. Open.
- Glen Abbey first hosted the RBC Canadian Open in 1977. It was the Open’s regular host each year from 1981-2000, with the exception of 1997 (Royal Montreal GC).
- There have been 14 playoffs in tournament history, the most recent in 2011 when Sean O’Hair defeated Titleist golf ball loyalist Kris Blanks.
- The last Canadian to win the RBC Canadian Open is Pat Fletcher in 1954 at Point Gray Golf and Country Club. After his playing days, Fletcher was the Head Professional at Royal Montreal Golf Club. Fletcher passed away on July 21, 1985.
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CANADIAN PLAYERS TO WATCH THIS WEEK:
- Titleist golf ball loyalist Mackenzie Hughes (Pro V1x) is making his third appearance in the Canadian Open. Hughes won his first PGA TOUR title at The RSM Classic late last year on the third extra hole of a five-man playoff which ended on Monday. With the victory, he became the first player to win on the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada (PGA TOUR-era), Web.com Tour and the PGA TOUR. He currently ranks No. 26 in the FedExCup standings. Mackenzie was born in Hamilton, Ontario.
- Titleist Brand Ambassador Graham DeLaet (Pro V1x) owns one top-10 in eight starts at the RBC Canadian Open. He was two strokes off the 36-hole lead in 2014 and eventually finished T7. This week marks the 169th PGA Tour start for the former Boise State player, who is seeking his first win on Tour. DeLaet has five top-10 finishes this season (T8/Sanderson Farms Championship, T9/Waste management Phoenix Open, 10/The Honda Classic, T6/RBC Heritage, T10/the Memorial Tournament). He currently ranks No. 74 in the FedExCup standings. Graham was born in Weyburn, Saskatchewan.
- Titleist golf ball loyalist David Hearn (Pro V1) recorded his best finish – 3rd – and his only top-10, in his 13th start in the RBC Canadian Open in 2015. He won the Web.com Tour's Alberta Classic and the Mackenzie Tour - Canada Times Colonist Open, both in 2004. Hearn posted back-to-back top-10 finishes this year at the FedEx St. Jude Classic (T10) and Travelers Championship (T8). He currently ranks No. 115 in the FedExCup standings. David was born in Brampton, Ontario.
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Welcome to the 2017 RBC Canadian Open! Rain early this week made for some dramatic skies over Glen Abbey Golf Club.
Titleist golf ball loyalist Jhonattan Vegas will be trusting a Pro V1 golf ball this week as he looks to defend his 2016 Canadian Open title.
Some healthy fuel for Mackenzie Hughes on Tuesday.
Zac Blair (Pro V1) went on a shopping spree, Canadian-style, with fellow Titleist Brand Ambassador Graham DeLaet…
…and then took his skills to the ice!
Not many pros on Tour can match the Zamboni skills of Graham DeLaet.
Titleist Brand Ambassador and Champion Golfer of the Year, Jordan Spieth celebrated his 24th birthday this week. Happy Birthday, Jordan!
The Rink, a fan experience at the 7th hole at Glen Abbey this week, celebrates Canada’s two favorite pastimes - hockey and golf.
A remarkable honor this week for Master Wedge Craftsman Bob Vokey.
One of the first HOF autographs from the Voke.