Furyk, Singh head Tiger-less Canadian Open field
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2006 Canadian Open | Preview | 06 Sep 2006
While the quality of the field at this week’s Bell Canadian Open at the Hamilton Golf Club in Ancaster, Ontario is perhaps the strongest it has been in recent years, the absence of Tiger Woods after his recent heroics brings a level of normality back to the USPGA Tour.
The course is a treasure and was originally designed by the legendary Harry Colt for a fee of $1500 in 1916. Colt designed many courses in the US and Europe and was responsible for the routing plan for the famed Pine Valley amongst others. Robbie Robinson added further holes in the early 1990’s. The course has recently undergone further additions and alterations and now measures close to 7000 yards and has a par of 70. The last time the event was held at the Hamilton Golf Club was in 2003 and prior to that in 1930 when Tommy Armour was the champion and in 1920 when American Douglas Edgar beat a field which included, amongst others, Bobby Jones by a huge margin.
This year’s event is headed by Jim Furyk and Vijay Singh with both players in good form and the type of players to do well on a golf course such as this. Singh gave every indication last week in Boston that he was back to somewhere near his best and he does not have to put up with Tiger Woods this week. In 2003 Singh made a horror start to this event with an opening 75 but was brilliant over the final fifty four holes to finish in 6th place, three behind the playoff between Bob Tway and Brad Faxon.
Furyk did not play the event in 2003 but given his current form he could compete and contend anywhere. In his last six starts he has been outside the top four only once and given the demands of this course where there will be a premium on the type of golf that Furyk plays then surely he must figure in the finish.
Stewart Cink has been in brilliant form in recent weeks, good enough to convince Tom Lehman to give him the nod for the Ryder Cup and he has gone on with it since when finishing runner up to Woods at the WGC Bridgestone event in Ohio.
Mike Weir is in front of home fans this week, a scenario that has often inspired him to greater things. While Weir has not been at his absolute best of late, he continues to make many cuts and the signs are there for a big week not being too far off. Weir was 10th in this event at this venue in 2003 and could well be in the mix on Sunday.
Another Canadian citizen Stephen Ames had a reasonable week in 2003 at this venue and his recent form indicates that he is not a long way from his best. At that best he is capable of beating the strongest of fields.
Trevor Immelman has been very solid of late and just three starts ago won on a golf course not unlike that he will face this week. His 13th place at the recent Bridgestone event gives the indication he is returning to the form he was in prior to leaving the tour prior to the Open Championship for the birth of his first child.
Chris DiMarco will be keen to continue his recent improvement especially with the Ryder Cup on the horizon. His runner up at the Open Championship has been surrounded by some rather ordinary form as he recovers from an early season injury. His performance this week will be of interest to many, especially Tom Lehman.
Sean O’Hair is another worth keeping an eye on this week. He was perhaps a little disappointing last week in Boston but there have been signs of late of him returning to the level which saw him as Rookie of the Year in 2005.
Australasians have a chance to do well again this week. Aaron Baddeley played this course in 2003 and did reasonably well and he had a very good week last week when playing in the company of Tiger woods for fifty four holes.
Nathan Green went ahead in the race for rookie money list honours with his 15th place last week and on a golf course like Hamilton Golf Club’s he should continue his stunning first season form.
Stephen Leaney did well in Boston last week and has previously displayed the ability to play well on tough golf courses. There has been genuine improvement in recent weeks even before the Deutsche Bank and might continue with that this week.
Peter Lonard played well here in 2003 but he has struggled to contend of late. He has made plenty of cuts in 2006 but needs to move up a level or two to contend. His driving was good last week but that was about all, especially over the last three rounds.
Greg Chalmers, Mathew Goggin, David McKenzie, Steve Bowditch and Phil Tataurangi make up the rest of the Australasians.
Photo – Anthony Powter