For me, playing in the RBC Canadian Open gives me the feeling of what the best players in the world must face every week. The number of commitments I have the week of the Canadian Open — sponsors, media, fans — jumps significantly, and it gives you a glimpse into the life of Jason Day or Jordan Spieth or Rory McIlroy, regardless of what tournament they are playing.
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Week in and week out, those guys deal with demands on their time and do it so well. I’m always impressed. And if nothing else, Canadian Open week is good training for what hopefully comes for me in the future.
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For Canadians, the tournament is one of those events where the fans expect more, and given the year I’ve had, there might be increased expectations on what people expect from me. Truthfully, Canadian fans just want to see good performances — what Jared du Toit did last year, what David Hearn did two years ago, or what I did at Shaughnessy a few years back.
In your head, I try to make it like an average week on tour, but I recognize it isn’t. It isn’t just another tournament — it is treated like a major by fans and the media, and honestly, by the Canadian players as well. It is an extremely busy week for most of us with sponsor obligations, and we really want to play well in front of the Canadian fans.
In a lot of ways, the week is just about time management. You know there are a lot of demands on you at the Canadian Open, so you figure out a schedule in advance and plan your time. You may not get the same amount of time on the range to prepare, but you know going into the week that it’ll be like that and you simply prepare for it.
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Once you get onto the golf course and start playing golf, it is like any other event, but it takes a bit to get to that point. It is kind of like what I went through after winning Valspar earlier this year. The week after at Bay Hill, I just didn’t know whether the week would ever be normal — there were so many people suddenly interested in speaking with me. And the Canadian Open is like that — but that’s fine.
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For me, I try to get my time in on the range so I can interact with the fans a bit more. This is the only time we play in Canada and have the opportunity to do it, and I see it as our responsibility to interact with the fans more when we’re at Glen Abbey. You want to be an ambassador for the game in Canada and give back. At the same time, we have a job to do and want to perform well, so I just think you have to be a bit smarter with your time.
You never know who you can influence, or get interested in the game of golf, just by taking some time with them at the tournament. Those kinds of experiences — especially for younger kids — is priceless, and something I always consider when I’m signing autographs or chatting with the fans after a round.