Canada’s rich golf history celebrated at the RBC Canadian Open

Alexis Mansanarez

Moving Day is in the books at the RBC Canadian Open. While countrymen might not be at the top of the leaderboard, golf moving across the pond to Canada is still something to celebrate.

Our neighbors to the north can thank the Scots for bringing the “royal and ancient game” with them when they immigrated to Canada over a century ago. Since then, Canada has grown the game by adding beautiful courses and some of the biggest names on the PGA and LPGA Tour to its resume.

“It’s a big year for Canada celebrating 150 years and with a tremendous mix of international stars and the deepest field of Canadian talent ever,” RBC tournament director Brent McLaughlin said. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to treat fans to a world-class showcase of golf steeped in Canadiana.”

With Jhonattan Vegas winning the The Canadian Open for a consecutive year, the history grows richer. It’s the third oldest continuously running tournament on Tour after the U.S. Open and Open Championship.

Canada’s national championship is held at the Royal Montreal Golf Club, which is the oldest continuously running official golf club in North America. Founded in 1873, the club was the host of the first Canadian Open championship in 1904, and has played host to eight other Canadian Opens.

The Best Golf Courses in Canada:

But when looking at the history of golf in Canada, there is something more rich than the third and final open of the season:

  • In July of 1911 at Royal Ottawa Golf Club, George Cumming was elected the first captain (what is now known as a modern day president). Cumming was a well-known professional player and teach from the Toronto Golf Club
  • A year later in 1912, the first PGA Championship of Canada was played at Mississauga Golf and Country Club one day before the Canadian Open at Rosedale Golf Club. The Championship had a field of only 14 players.
  • In May of 1938, the PGA Senior Championship of Canada began. Players over the age of 50 competed for the Albert Murray Trophy. Arthur Keeling took home the very first title.
  • On January 4, 1961, the first PGA of Canada office opened with approximately 350 members.
  • In 1971, the Peter Jackson Tour was created and consisting of seven events played across Canada. It lasted until 1977.
  • In December of 1980, Mary-Jane Hall became the first female PGA of Canada Head Professional.
  • Two years later in December of 1982, Canadian professionals formed the Tournament Players Division, which was the foundation of the PGA Tour Canada.
  • In 1987, Cathy Sherk won the first PGA Women’s Championship of Canada out of a field of 16.
Cathy Sherk takes a break during the opening round of the CPGA women’s national championship at Legends on the Niagara in 2012. Source: Google Images
  • Twenty Twenty five years ago in January of 1992, the PGA of Canada headquarters moved to Blue Springs Golf Club in Acton — about 30 miles from the site of the Glen Abbey Golf Course.
  • At the turn of the century, PGA of Canada membership moved to just over 3,000 members.
  • Beginning in 2009, Canada launches numerous programs including the National Golf in Schools program is unveiled by the PGA of Canada and Golf Canada.
  • In January of 2010, the PGA of Canada is a recognized member of the new PGA World Alliance.
  • Three months later in that same year, the PACE program was approved by the general membership. PACE is a program that emphasizes education and employment, and provides greater access for professional membership for PGA of Canada pros.
  • In May of 2011, the PGA of Canada Player Rankings were introduced, which was a first for any international PGA’s, and Bryn Parry at No. 1.
  • Later that month, the PGA Championship of Canada is revived and played after a five-year hiatus. It was played in Calgary at Cottonwood Golf and Country Club.
  • In August of 2011, the Special Olympics Golf Coach Program was started.
  • In January 2014, the PGA of Canada Hall of Fame was launched along with the induction of its inaugural class.

Canadians were a part of the evolution of golf much like any other country in the world. Canada has added more than 1,300 clubs to the Royal Canadian Golf Association, formerly known as the Canadian Golf Association since the 1980’s and is now of the Mackenzie Tour — which has featured winners like Mike Weir who went on to claim the winner of eight PGA Tour titles, including the 2003 Masters.

Mike Weir receives the coveted green jacket from Tiger Woods after his 2003 Masters Championship win. Weir was also the first left-handed player to take home the title. Source: Google Images

 

 

Other PGA Tour winners who moved up the ranks from the Canadian Tour include 2005 U.S. Open winner Michael Campbell, 2004 British Open winner Todd Hamilton, Steve Stricker, Paul Casey, and 2008 RBC Canadian Open winner Chez Reavie.

So, from the legendary golfers that have been etched into Canadian golf history and stunning courses you can find from coast to coast, golf has its rightful place in Canada and some even say our neighbors have the better golfers.

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