Regularly on Globalnews.ca Canadian golf stars Graham DeLaet and Adam Hadwin take readers behind the scenes of the PGA Tour, providing insights, perceptions and observations as they battle at the game’s biggest tournaments.
It’s hard to describe what it is like for a Canadian to be in the hunt at the RBC Canadian Open. I entered the final round of the 2011 Canadian Open at Shaughnessy in Vancouver in second place, and it’s something I’ll remember vividly for the rest of my life.
Playing in the final group was amazing, and I struggled on the front nine. Frankly, I don’t think anyone felt I’d come back. But there was some electricity on the back nine and I got back within striking distance with a few holes to play. Walking up 18 and having that moment where I got a standing ovation, and recognizing the crowd knew it had been a while since a Canadian was in contention, let alone had a chance to win, well it is just something I’ll never forget.
To be in that position and breathe in that atmosphere is something you’d like to replicate many times in your career. It never gets old.
Obviously I always look forward to the RBC Canadian Open, and I know I always will. It’s something that’s easy to get excited about, something I circle on the calendar so to speak and one that I treat like a major. You want your game to be on the rise when you go into the week. That’s always my goal.
As Canadians, we get the questions about what it would be like to win, since no Canadian has won since 1954. Truthfully it’s something we just don’t get a chance at all that often—just once a year. To me it is an opportunity to play for friends and family and in front of Canada.
Canadian golf fans travel really well. It seems like every event we’re at there’s a Canadian contingent. But at the Canadian Open they come out in big numbers, and they really know their golf, which is great as well. They also really want to see a Canadian play well and really support us.
LIVE BLOG: Complete coverage of the RBC Canadian Open
At the same time there are a lot of demands on every Canadian in the field, and I think every Canadian golfer finds their own way of adjusting to it. I’ve experienced it a lot in a few years and I’ve had to learn had to balance my time. When you play Mackenzie Tour (or the Canadian Tour when I played it), there aren’t many obligations or people asking for your time. But it slowly increases and as you start playing well and moving up. Those obligations roll in more often and can overwhelm you. But as a pro you learn how to deal with your time and still focus on your game. There’s a time to rest and a time to focus on your game. For me, it’s tough to turn opportunities down, but sometimes you have to.
I have mixed feelings on Glen Abbey. Of course, everyone connects the course with the shot Tiger Woods hit on the 18th in 2000. I think I was 13 when he hit the 6-iron from the bunker, and it was right around the time I was getting into golf. It is an unforgettable shot and has been replayed so many times that everyone has seen it.
It’s easy to understand why Golf Canada takes the Canadian Open to Glen Abbey— there are few courses that are better for the logistics of holding a PGA Tour tournament. Sometimes it’s easy for fans to overlook that the course is only part of what it takes to host a Canadian Open. Glen Abbey is great for spectators, sponsor tents and moving the pros around from the practice facility to the course. It’s completely understandable why Golf Canada likes to go there.
At the same time it would be great to return to Vancouver and get to tee it up at Shaughnessy again. That would be just about perfect.