Do you know the words to the Canadian anthem, O Canada?
I do because I’m a Canadian, but if you watched the RBC Canadian Open you would have heard the fans serenating the Canadian golfers every time they were standing on the tee of the 14th hole. It’s known as The Rink and has boards similar to what you’d find at hockey arenas.
The Rink idea began a few years ago to salute Canada as a hockey country, but it has really grown in terms of its build. And CBS’ announcers, clearly in the spirit of what was going on, used every type of hockey term imaginable.
Hockey may be Canada’s sport, but golf is starting to grow because of the success in recent years of Canadians on the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour, including the historic victory by Nick Taylor (Titleist Pro V1x) in the RBC Canadian Open. He is the latest example of the rise of the Canadians at the top level. Consider Corey Conners (Titleist Pro V1), Adam Hadwin (Callaway Chrome Soft X), Taylor Pendrith (Callaway Chrome Soft X) and Mackenzie Hughes (Titleist Pro V1) on the PGA Tour. Brooke Henderson (TaylorMade TP5x) is the pre-eminent golfer on the LPGA Tour.
Anyhow, all the Canadian players waited until the fans had finished the anthem before their tee shot. And after they took their shot, they gave fans high fives or fist bumps. To compare the noise and animation of the fans, think about the Waste Management Tour’s 16th hole, which has a three-story grandstand and the fans cheer a good shot or boo a bad one.
Just a little fact about Canadians: we are mild-mannered, polite people and don’t jeer or sneer. If anything, we’re too polite.
When Tommy Fleetwood (TaylorMade TP5) was in a position to win the tournament on the 18th while tied with Taylor, who was in the clubhouse, all of the spectators showed him respect. When one of his shots ended up in the grandstand, the person with the ball offered to give it back to him. When he failed to birdie the hole and win outright, no one booed him. Yes, they may have been excited knowing Taylor now had a chance to win after the regulation 72 holes, but they contained their enthusiasm.
It took four holes before Taylor won outright with a 72-foot eagle, which will go down as one of the greatest moments in Canadian sports history.
And when the crowd in the hundreds of thousands rushed toward the green after Taylor’s magical moment, it was reminiscent of the bedlam that followed when Phil Mickelson (Callaway Chrome Soft X) was approaching the 18th hole on route to winning the 2021 PGA Championship, becoming the oldest player to win a major.
The last time a Canadian won the Open before Taylor was 69 years ago, and the winner, Pat Fletcher, was a transplanted native of the United Kingdom. Taylor was born and raised in Canada. He is from British Columbia, where Fletcher won the Canadian Open.
What Taylor did in some ways was reminiscent of Mike Weir (Titleist Pro V1) becoming the first Canadian to win the Masters, which he did in 2003. Yes, the Canadian Open is not on the same level as the Masters, but for a generation of people who weren’t born at the time, the win by Taylor 20 years later is pretty special, especially because it wasn’t a tap-in.
WALK AND TALK: It had been pre-arranged that Taylor would talk to CBS during the 15th hole, wearing wireless ear buds. It’s proven to be a real interesting feature. Remember Michael Block (Titleist Pro V1) in the PGA Championship? Anyhow, Taylor was asked after the 14th hole if he ever experienced anything like the crowd reaction he received. “I don’t have to wait for the anthem very much on the tee, especially in the U.S.”
THE RORY ANS COREY SHOW: The poster for the tournament featured Rory McIlroy (TaylorMade TP5x), looking for his third consecutive RBC Canadian Open win, and Conners, arguably Canada’s top golfer. McIlroy was in a position to win heading in the final round and then fizzled. Conners was only one shot off the lead after 36 holes, but then his putter let him down.
QUOTE UNQUOTE: “Oh my goodness, glorious and free.” – CBS’ Jim Nantz following Taylor’s eagle.
The week before following the victory by Viktor Hovland (Titleist Pro V1) in the Memorial, he said: “From Oslo to Ohio.”
THE TACKLE: When Hadwin was spraying Taylor with champagne, he was promptly tackled buy a security guard, who didn’t know he was, even though he played in the tournament and finished tied for 11th. It was captured on video and has gone viral.
THE LUCK OF NETFLIX: The management of Netflix, which is producing its second season of Full Swing, must be doing cartwheels after what happened in the Canadian Open. First, it had news from the PGA collaboration with the DP World Tour and the Saudi Private Investment Fund, which sponsors LIV Golf. We’re assuming Netflix was given access to the players’-only meeting because the PGA Tour decided to give Netflix full access prior to the first season of Full Swing. The drama that followed in the Canadian Open with Taylor’s win was pure gold.