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  • 2024 Canadian Open Preview

    2024 Canadian Open Preview

    As is the case with professional golf, time marches on. And that means – even though the 2023 RBC Canadian Open was one for the history books – it’s time once again for Canada’s national open to take centre stage.

    Nick Taylor’s drought-busting 72-foot eagle bomb to defeat Tommy Fleetwood in a playoff meant a Canadian won the Canadian Open for the first time in 69 years.

    “Glorious and free!” yelled Jim Nantz on the CBS broadcast.

    “History! History!” exclaimed Mark Zecchino on PGA Tour Radio.

    It was a special week at Toronto’s Oakdale Golf and Country Club which started in the most surreal of ways – with the secret go-forward ‘framework agreement’ between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf being agreed to on Tuesday of tournament week.

    While the back-and-forth between those two entities continues to this day, Taylor’s big triumph a few days after that announcement meant the golf won out at the end of the week.

    “I can’t believe it’s been a year,” Taylor said. “I still get people coming up to me where they were when the putt dropped and their reaction and I think those stories over time have been the most special ones. Strangers to family to friends, it’s been all of the above. It’s been very humbling over the past year and how people have been impacted by it. I wish I could be the defending champion for a little longer.”

    This will be a particularly special year for Taylor – who won again on the PGA Tour earlier in 2024 at the WM Phoenix Open – as the iconic image of him dropping his putter in celebration on the playoff hole last year has been installed into the 2024 RBC Canadian Open logo.

    “It’s been a special year – everything that’s come along with the tournament like the logo change,” Taylor said. “People were out of the country taking over bars or country clubs for the last 30 minutes or an hour. I met a man from Saskatchewan, and he was cutting his crop and he had his iPad propped up while driving and when the putt went in he freaked out with the wheel and he messed up his crop. He still sees it for months afterwards and it reminds him of the putt going in. Obviously in the moment I’m not thinking about (all) that but to hear them all afterwards has been very, very special.

    “When people tell them to me and the emotion when they use it reveals how much it meant to them, let alone me.”

    Taylor leads a 25-player Canadian contingent at this year’s Canadian Open. David Hearn will play his 20th Canadian Open while Mike Weir will play his 31st, just one back of the all-time record. Other exemptions including PGA TOUR Americas winners in 2024 Stu Macdonald and Matt Anderson along with world-travellers Aaron Cockerill and Jared du Toit.

    The 2024 Canadian Open will be played at Hamilton Golf and Country Club for the seventh time. The club underwent an $11-million renovation project not long after it hosted the 2019 Canadian Open and the construction effort took place using virtual reality and 3D-video technologies as the architect – Martin Ebert – is located in the UK and could not travel to Canada due to the COVID-19 restrictions. The renovations to the championship layout opened in the Fall of 2021 (Ebert made his first trip in September of that year).

    The plan included reconstructing tees, bunkers, and greens on all 27 holes (the West/South PGA TOUR layout along with the East) along with a new irrigation system, practice putting green, and new practice area.

    More than 100 yards has been added to Hamilton from the 2019 Canadian Open including 25 yards of distance on the par-3 6th, 30 yards of distance on the par-5 17th, and 11 yards on the par-4 18th closing hole – which was the hardest hole during the 2019 Canadian Open.

    Rory McIlroy won the 2019 edition by sizzling seven shots. He’ll return north of the boarder in an attempt to win his third Canadian Open – and third time this season on the PGA Tour.

    The golf course is one of the country’s best, the field is set to be solid, and the buzz is going to be top tier once again. But the most special thing for the 2024 RBC Canadian Open is that, for the first time this generation, there is a Canadian defending champion.

    “The week as a whole I’m going to try to be present and embrace as much as possible,” Nick Taylor said, “because it’s going to be special.”