Canadian Open moves to early June in 2019, purse raised to attract stronger field
Many golfers tend to skip late July tourney coming off challenging British Open
The RBC Canadian Open is making moves to try to become one of the can't-miss events on the PGA Tour.
The Canadian Open will be played in early June starting in 2019, moving the event out of the shadow of the British Open. Golf Canada also announced on Tuesday it's increasing the overall purse to $7.6 million US for 2019, up from $6.4 million.
Historically, the Canadian Open was held in September, but starting in 2007 it was played in late July, the prime golf season. Unfortunately, it also was the week after the British Open, causing many of the PGA Tour's top players to miss the tournament as they recovered from the challenging major.
"It'll make it a lot easier to attract all the great players that I know want to come up and play but maybe just haven't been able to fit it into their schedule before," said Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., the highest ranked Canadian on the PGA Tour. "This will elevate this tournament back to the stature that it has had."
Hadwin was teleconferenced into the news conference at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ont., where Golf Canada, RBC and the PGA Tour made the announcement. Glen Abbey will host the event from July 26-29 this year.
Next year's event is June 6-9 at the Hamilton Golf and Country Club, a week before the U.S. Open, and during the Stanley Cup final. The PGA Tour's full 2019 schedule will be released on July 10.
'Extremely exciting day' for Canadian golf
"For our organization, the professional game is at the top of the pyramid, because it drives substantial interest and it drives substantial economic impact for our entire organization," said Golf Canada CEO Laurence Applebaum. "We put a ton of time and energy and resources behind it. To be able to put it on this platform and this stage where we can host our great Canadians, our great world players, in these iconic locations, is one of our key strategies."
The Hamilton Golf and Country Club will host the Canadian Open in 2019 and 2023. The tournament has been at Hamilton five times, first in 1919 and most recently in 2012.
"This is an extremely exciting day for golf in Canada," said Hadwin.
The Canadian Open is the third oldest tournament on the PGA Tour behind the British and U.S. Opens. This year's edition will be the 109th time the tournament is held and 21 world golf hall of famers are counted among past winners, not counting Tiger Woods (2000) and Jim Furyk (2006, 2007), who are expected to be inducted into the Hall of Fame when they retire.