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  • Pro Tip: Canadian Open Preview

    Pro Tip: Canadian Open Preview

    The RBC Canadian Open will return to the Toronto area once again this June as the tournament and its organizers continue to look to build on all of its success from the last two editions.

    Rory McIlroy made his Canadian Open debut in 2019 and won the tournament at the same time the Toronto Raptors were making their spirited run to the NBA Finals. With two years of the Canadian Open cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was plenty of pent-up excitement for the 2022 edition at St. George’s Golf and Country Club and it absolutely delivered – with McIlroy defending his title.

    “I’ve only played in Canada twice, in Hamilton and then here. It’s been two pretty good trips,” McIlroy said last year. “If there was some honorary Canadian citizenship bestowed upon me I certainly wouldn't turn it down. That would be a very proud thing for me. But, no, I'm happy to come up here once every now and again and play some golf and take this trophy south of the border with me.”

    This year’s Canadian Open is set to take place at Oakdale Golf and Country Club for the first time and McIlroy is looking to make it a threepeat.

    There are just nine men since World War II to have won an event on the PGA Tour three straight years. Steve Stricker is the most recent, having captured the John Deere Classic in 2009-11.

    Viktor Hovland (World Wide Technology Championship) and Sam Burns (Valspar Championship) were unsuccessful in their bids already this season.

    But while McIlroy smiled when offered a potential honourary Canadian citizenship, there will be at least a dozen actual Canadians teeing it up in Toronto looking to accomplish something not done since Pat Fletcher in 1954.

    There have been a few Canadians in the mix at the Canadian Open over the last 20 years, however. The closest was Mike Weir, who lost to Vijay Singh in a playoff in 2004. David Hearn had a two-shot lead in 2015 through 54 holes but ended up third, losing to Jason Day. Amateur Jared du Toit was in the final group Sunday in 2016, just one-shot back of the lead, but eventually finished tied for ninth. And last year Corey Conners fired a sizzling Sunday 62 to move into a solo sixth and win the Rivermead Cup as Low Canadian.

    “Obviously there’s another trophy that we’re all out here playing for so hopefully some day I can get my name on that one as well,” Conners said. “But it feels really special. There’s a great list of Canadians who have their names on that trophy so definitely an honour to have my name added.”

    While McIlroy is set to tee it up alongside such top notables as Matt Fitzpatrick, Shane Lowry, reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Cam Young, Sam Burns, Tommy Fleetwood, and Justin Rose, if there was going to be a year that a Canadian would win the RBC Canadian Open, it would be this year.

    Three Canadians have won already on the PGA Tour this season – a record – with Mackenzie Hughes and Adam Svensson winning in the fall and Conners winning in the Valero Texas Open for the second time in April. At one point this year there were five Canadians in the top 100 in the world for the first time. Six Canadians teed it up at the PGA Championship – the most recent major prior to the Canadian Open – which was a record. Conners was in the final group Saturday before earning a spot in the penultimate group for the Sunday finale at Oak Hill Country Club.

    “It’s fun to be part of the group of Canadian golfers right now,” Conners said at the PGA Championship. “I think whether it’s myself or one of them or the others, someone is making some noise every week. It’s fun to be a part of.”

    Make no mistake, the week at Oakdale will be a fun one to be part of for sure – especially as a Canadian.

    The golf course, located near Toronto’s airport, has 27 holes and a custom routing will be used for the PGA Tour’s best. A composite routing of holes designed by Stanley Thompson will make up the front nine, while the whole of the “Knudson nine” (Designed by Robbie Robertson and so named after eight-time PGA Tour winner George Knudson) will play as the back nine. The course will play as a 7,264-yard par-72. Three new tee boxes have been added for the pros while a pair of par-5s have been turned into par-4s.

    The build-out for the week is also set to be incredibly impressive.

    It’s the largest operational build in event history, with 200,000 square feet (plus 9,000 pieces of furniture in use). The hospitality is sold out, and up 26 percent from last year. It’s also the first time the tournament will utilize double-decker stands on the 18th-hole finisher. ‘The Rink’ is also set to make its return – being set up on the par-3 14th at Oakdale – while Grammy-winning artists The Black Eyed Peas and Alanis Morissette will play on-site concerts on Friday and Saturday nights, respectively

    So, whether it’s the field, the course, the party atmosphere, or the chance to see a Canadian potentially win his national open, there a lot of reasons to be excited about this year’s RBC Canadian Open.

    Head to to play or wear what the Pro’s play!