How To Win a Canadian Open

There is a growing concern about the course setup at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club for this week‘s RBC Canadian Open; Grumblings can be heard at every putting green and driving range stall about the length of the rough, the narrowness of the fairways, the tightly tree-lined layout, and the fast, dime-sized greens.

Doesn’t all this sound a little too familiar?

Here’s a quote from PGA Tour veteran Robert Allenby from the 2005 edition of the Canadian Open, held at the same venue: “The rough is just ridiculous… It’s not a U.S. Open. I know it’s a national title, but it’s not a U.S. Open. It was easier at the U.S. Open, the rough … You’ve got six inches of rough and it’s like Popeye grass, it’s like spinach. It’s just all matted together. I know I definitely won’t come back to this golf course ever again. Ever.”

So, in many ways, not much has changed since the Open made it‘s way to the Westcoast six years ago. ‘Sticks and stones’ and all that jazz. They complained then, and they’re complaining now, and all that’s left is for somebody to quiet the noise and actually win the damn thing.

But who will use their sticks and stones most efficiently and take home the silverware? What does it take to tame the beast that John Daly has jokingly referred to as Shaughnetrees?

Well, the last man to successfully get the job done at Shaughnessy was ’everyman’ Mark Calcavecchia (who can’t be in the field this week because he’s playing the Senior British Open in Surrey, England) and so perhaps the best way to predict a winner is to see who compares most closely to the incomparable Mr. Calcavecchia.

So we’ve compiled a list of favourites heading into the week and put them through the Mark Calcavecchia ringer to find out who might come out victorious. And, just like golf, the lowest score wins.

The Contestants: Ernie Els, Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar, Mike Weir, Ben Crane, Anthony Kim, Camilo Villegas, Luke Donald, John Daly, Hunter Mahan, Ryan Moore and Jim Furyk.

Rule #1: Player Must Not Complain About the Course Set-Up: In 2005, Calcavecchia was very complimentary of the course all week and called it “one of his favourites on Tour all year.”

Players Most Like Calc:

John Daly (-1) , who tweeted: “definitely an unbelievable, awesome golf course & I love it.”

Luke Donald (-1): “Yeah, I’m excited to be here. This is actually the first tournament I ever made it as a professional – the Canadian Open – so it has some good memories for me.”

Players Least Like Calc:

Anthony Kim (+1), who said the following about Shaughnessy: ”I’ve never played a course this tough. I would say this is one of the toughest – if not the toughest – course I’ve ever played.”

Rule #2: Player Must Adhere to Classic, Old-Man Fashion Sense: Mark Calcavecchia is nobody’s fashion role model, but his simple, khakis-and-classic-golf-polo style attracts the minimum of unwanted attention.

Most Like Calc:

Jim Furyk (-1); King of your father’s closet.

Ten bucks says your dad owns this outfit. Go ahead and check his closet, we'll wait.


Ernie Els (-1); Easy-peazy, khaki-steezy.

Least Like Calc:

Rickie Fowler (+1)

Tanning: Because it's not just a skin colour, it's a lifestyle.


John Daly (+2); “There’s some sad things known to man / but ain’t too much sadder than /  the tears of a clown”

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find a jacket that DOESN'T match these pants?


Rule #3: Player Must Hit a Repeatable, High, Fade: If Mark Calcavecchia can, in fact, hit a draw, I’ve never seen it. A high, towering cut is the preferred shape in the Calc household as well as the Shaughnessy G&CC.

Most Like Calc:

Rickie Fowler (-1) A fast swing, quick at the bottom, to cut through the heavy Open rough.

Hunter Mahan (-1) Shot of choice is a buttery soft, high fade.

Least Like Calc:

Matt Kuchar (+1) His ultra-flat swing-plane will prove troublesome when trying to extricate the ball from the deep rough.

Ernie Els (+1) Favours a draw which might prove difficult in hitting Shaughnessy’s narrow fairways.

Mike Weir (+2) Even Mike doesn’t know if he’s hitting a cut or a draw right now. He’s stacking and tilting and gouging and wilting.

"I'll shave it when I make a cut."


Rule #4: Player Must Have Shown Past Success in British Columbia: Before winning the 2005 Canadian Open, Mark Calcavecchia claimed the 1997 Greater Vancouver Open.

 Most Like Calc:

Ben Crane & Ryan Moore (-1 each); Both tied for second-place, a single shot behind Calcavecchia, the last time the Canadian Open was held at Shaughnessy.

Least Like Calc:

Camilo Villegas (+1); He was shutout of the money at last year’s Telus World Skins Game at Bear Mountain Resort in Victoria.


Rule #5: Player Must have a Beer Gut: The added weight must have helped Calcavecchia get out of Shaughnessy’s thick rough in 2005; Carrying a little extra rubber around the middle has always been part of his playing strategy.

On the cause of his Sleep Apnea: "My fat neck—I've got a big tongue and a fat neck. It mainly happens in overweight people."


Most Like Calc:

Old John Daly (-1)

Caption Not Necessary.



Least Like Calc:

New John Daly (+3)

"I don't know if you heard me counting but I did over a thousand" -Ron Burgundy


Camilo Villegas (+2)

Is it weird that I felt compelled to delete my internet search history after finding this?


Rule #6: Player Must Show A Wee Bit of a Temper: In an interview with Golf Magazine, Calcavecchia was asked what was the worst punishment he ever dealt a putter. He responded: “Well, there’s one sitting in a rain gutter at a Residence Inn in Akron, Ohio. I was staying on the second floor and just reached out the window and put it in there. It’s not very nice there in the winter. There’s one in a flower garden in Westchester [N.Y.]. There are several in the ocean. I’ve given more away to kids than I’ve broken, but sometimes it just feels good to break one.”

Most Like Calc:

Anthony Kim (-1); His youthful exuberance can too often lead to anger (and his newfound mullet is reminiscent of a young Charlie Hoffman, which I’m not sure is a good or bad thing yet).

Least Like Calc:

Luke Donald (+1); It’s hard to imagine the docile Donald breaking a sweat, let alone a putter.

Ernie Els (+1); His nickname is The Big Easy for good reason.

Matt Kuchar (+1); I’ll bet you my media pass he was a Boy Scout of America.


The Final Standings:

1. Ryan Moore -1 *Wins in Playoff

T2. Hunter Mahan -1

T2. Ben Crane -1

*Ben Crane lost on the first playoff hole due to the fact he shot an 80 in today’s Pro-Am Round.

**Hunter Mahan lost on the second playoff hole because he and the rest of the ‘Golf Boy’s announced that a follow-up to their hit single “Oh Oh Oh” is on the way… and nobody needs that to happen (ps. He refused to rule out the possibility they could be tackling a country song this time around).

So there you have it, the next RBC Canadian Open Champion is the Pacific Northwest’s own Ryan Moore. Ryan Seacrest’s skinny tie would be proud.


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