More Canadians, More Fun for Spectators

By: JJ Gowland

Golf fans will be treated to a display of talent when a field of Canadian golf professionals (and one amateur) tee off with fan favorites from the PGA Tour for the Canadian Open title at Angus Glen, in Markham, Ontario.

The Canadian Open field boasts players who want to be here. Of the 28 players who placed first or second in the last seven years of the national championship, 24 have returned in 2007. All of the last five winners are vying for their second title. Two-time winners include Lee Trevino (1977 and '79), Bruce Lietzke (1978 and '82), Curtis Strange (1985 and '87), Greg Norman (1984 and '92), Nick Price (1991 and '94), and Steve Jones (1989 and '97).

Davis Love III, who renovated the course, won't be testing his handiwork this year. But the field does include another Love: Canadian James Love from Calgary. Canadians would love to see a Canadian win their national tournament. Twenty-one Canadian residents, including Mike Weir and Stephen Ames, are also playing this year.

Four golfers qualified on Monday at Royal Ashburn Golf Club. Ben Ferguson, who was born in Sydney, Australia, and resides in Ancaster, Ont., qualified with a 66. Three other qualifiers shot 67, including Brian McCann of Mississauga, Ont., Kevin Senecal of Montreal, and Eli Zackheim from Portland, Ore. Royal Ashburn has tighter fairways than at Angus Glen, so these four could make things interesting on Sunday.

Victor Ciesielski, the lone amateur who wowed the crowds at the 2006 Canadian Open, was given an exemption by the RCGA from qualifying in this year's event.

Prime-time threesomes include Weir, Vijay Singh, and Tom Pernice Jr., who start on the 10th tee at 7:30 a.m. Later, on the 10th tee, at 12:50 p.m., Mark Calcavecchia, 2005 Canadian Open winner, tees it up with Chris DiMarco and Olin Brown. On the 1st tee at 12:40 will be Stephen Ames, Joe Ogilvie (winner of last week's U.S. Bank Championship) and Ted Purdy. The very next tee time has last year's Canadian Open winner Jim Furyk, John Rollins and Jeff Sluman. Rollins won in a playoff at Angus Glen's South Course in 2002.

There are a number of other fan favorites this week. A quick poll netted the following list: John Daly, Jason Gore, Bubba Watson, Camilo Villegas, Hunter Mahan, Brandt Snedeker, Kevin Stadler, Corey Pavin, Duffy Waldorf, Justin Leonard, Shigeki Maruyama, Sean O'Hair and Brent Quigley.

Another notable in the field is Danny King, a teaching pro who lives in Milton, Ont., and plays out of Magna Golf Club, captured the Canadian PGA Club Pro Champion exemption two years in a row. King said that the front nine has "the meanest, most demanding holes - but birdies are definitely possible on the par-5s, in particular the 11th and 15th." Blind tee shots, elevated greens and the wind will also be factors, King added.

The par-71, 7,320-yard Angus Glen enjoys a mixture of holes, with some tree-lined, others sheltered in valleys, and some links-style. Thick fescue along fairways and deep sod-faced bunkers squeeze greens. During the final round, the turning point hole could be the par-5 15th. It's a potential birdie hole, but a crosswind pushes drives toward the deep rough and fescue along the right. Then it's an uphill battle over deep bunkers. Another critical juncture is the 18th, a severe dogleg-left.

The 2007 Canadian Open is likely to be a terrific tournament, with great weather in the forecast. As Ames said in a Tuesday press conference (see separate story for a transcript of his interview), "This is obviously another major for me, being a Canadian at a Canadian National Open. So it's an important event for me."

A golfer from Argentina won the U.S. Open. An Irishman won the British Open. Will a Canadian win the Canadian Open? Will Weir, Ames or any of the other 19 Canadians in the field come through? Chances are pretty good.

For additional information and tee times, visit     

Jill J. Gowland has a BA in psychology from McMaster University in Hamilton Ontario, and worked as a psychiatric clinician for five years. Following that she did a 10-year stint in sales and then worked as a marketing manager in the high-tech software and the security/access-control industries.

Before attending university, J.J. served tables in a golf course coffee shop and has been an avid golfer for more than three decades. Jill has been associated with the golf business as a director and shareholder of a privately owned golf course for more than 20 years. Jill studied comedy at Second City, Toronto, has written and directed stage plays, taught improv comedy, is a published poet. She has blogs on, has written for Ontario Golf Magazine, and is a golf novelist. Jill lives with a fluctuating handicap in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.

Her latest book, "Confessions of a Sandbagger," (ISBN 1-4137-5527-4), a trade paperback, was released in December 2004 and is available world-wide and directly from the author. For ordering information, visit Also, see Bob Spiwak's review of "Confessions of a Sandbagger" at