This week, twenty seven players made the trek over from Carnoustie and last week’s British Open to Ontario, Canada for the RBC Canadian Open. A large part of the reason RBC and the Canadian Open brass have been looking for a change in dates, and will get it, is the difficulty in attracting marquee players to hop on a jet and fly across the world to play the following week (and the week after a major, no less).
Twenty seven players made that journey this time around, a number that’s larger than in past years due to the confluence of RBC gaining traction as a sponsor, and Glen Abbey likely hosting the event for the 30th and final time. Hamilton G&CC is set to host next year; and with housing development seemingly just a matter of time away from forever changing Glen Abbey, you can see why the need for a good field this year was heightened.
Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Sergio Garcia, Kevin Kisner, Tommy Fleetwood, Matt Kuchar, and Bubba Watson were amongst those big names who committed, and in the process, the Abbey was given an appropriate send off.
Of the 27 from Carnoustie, 15 would go on to play the weekend here in Canada. The big names to miss the cut? Garcia, Kuchar, Watson, Kisner and Koepka. As the final round on Sunday began, though, 13 of the 15 making the cut found themselves distributed across the final 18 groups, including both guys in the final pairing (Dustin Johnson and Byeong Hun An). This is how they fared when all was said and done.
Winner — Dustin Johnson (-23)
T-2nd — Byeong Hun An (-20)
4th — Keegan Bradley (-19)
T-6th — Tommy Fleetwood (-16)
T-8th — Brandt Snedeker (-15)
T-12th — Shane Lowry (-14)
–Ian Poulter (-14)
–Jason Kokrak (-14)
T-21st — Gary Woodland (-12)
T-29th — Charley Hoffman (-11)
–Jimmy Walker (-11)
–Jhonattan Vegas (-11)
T-37th — Tony Finau (-10)
— Stewart Cink (-10)
T-50th — Kelly Kraft (-8)
Missed Cut: Retief Goosen, Chez Reavie, Adam Hadwin, Brooks Koepka, Sergio Garcia, Sung Kang, Kevin Kisner, Bubba Watson, Bronson Burgoon, Matt Kuchar, Jonas Blixt, Ryan Armour
Certainly, you could make cases both for and against jet lag’s detrimental affect upon the players, enough to warrant skipping the week. Fortunately for tournament organizers, they won’t have to scratch their heads over the issue any longer. With the event changing spots on the schedule next season, landing the week before the US Open, they’ll be faced with a different set of tasks to attract marquee players.
Numbers from next year’s spot on the calendar
That being said, here is how the turnout looked in that spot in 2018, with players going from the FedEx St. Jude classic the week of June 7th-10th, over to Shinnecock Hills the following week for the US Open.
Players in both events (St Jude Classic & US Open): 31
Marquee names to play in both: Dustin Johnson, Brandt Snedeker, Phil Mickelson, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka, Charl Schwartzel, Mackenzie Hughes, Daniel Berger, Tony Finau, Kevin Chappell
Winners: St. Jude Classic — Dustin Johnson, US Open — Brooks Koepka
As you can see, despite the St. Jude classic being less of a traditionally “big” event, they were still able to bring in a larger number of players competing in both their event, and the US Open. Once the Canadian Open makes their date change next year, it seems almost a formality that they will be able to bring in bigger and better names going forward. The only potential snag is the fact that next year’s Canadian Open is in Hamilton, Ontario, while the following week’s US Open is on the west coast at Pebble Beach in California. Asking players to fly cross-country may lose the interest of a few; however, considering the week before the Canadian Open will be The Memorial, which is played in nearby Ohio and will host the majority of the PGA Tour’s stars, that excuse may not hold too much water. Include the fact that a lot of players like to play the week before a major, and we can just about pencil in names like Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka making a stop north of the border for years to come.