The RBC Canadian Open gets underway on Thursday. Rory McIlroy won the event the last time it was played in 2019 and will join a solid field that includes Scottie Scheffler, Cameron Smith, Sam Burns, and Justin Thomas.
Elsewhere in golf, one of the biggest storylines in recent times for the sport has come to its’ end this week, as the first LIV Golf Invitational will get underway in London. The new tour is the first competitor to the PGA Tour, although it remains to be seen how much interest it will truly generate once play gets underway.
Dustin Johnson, Others Resign From PGA Tour
As the new tour gets underway, some of its’ players have begun to resign from the PGA Tour. Players such as Sergio Garcia, Johnson, and Kevin Na have all taken that step in the last couple of days.
Johnson plans to play only in the LIV Invitational Events and the major championships, and his departure from the PGA Tour sent shockwaves throughout the sport. It remains to be seen how Johnson’s eligibility will be affected for major international events such as the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup.
Wednesday morning brought reports that Bryson DeChambeau, one of the most marketable names in golf, and Patrick Reed were also joining the new tour. The loss of DeChambeau and Reed, who have both won a major championship and are well known by fans, will bring a lot of attention to how the PGA Tour decides to react to their new competitor.
McIlory Prepares for Candian Open Defense
While controversy surrounds the new tour and players departing the PGA Tour for the new opportunity, the Candian Open is set to begin on Thursday. The event will be key for the players in the field as some prepare for the U.S. Open next week.
This year’s Candian Open gets underway at St. George’s Golf and Country Club on the west side of Toronto. It is the sixth time the par 70 course has hosted the tournament and the first time since 2010.
Most players have chosen to ignore the departures of some of their fellow players from the tour this week and focus on the third-oldest tournament in golf instead. The opportunity this weekend will be key, Scheffler and Thomas will be preparing for another chance to win a major championship, while Sam Burns, the world No.9, will hope to prepare himself for an opportunity for his first.
McIlroy, who had such a dominant performance his last time at the Canadian Open, will hope that another good weekend of play will set him up well for the U.S. Open. McIlroy has not won a major championship since 2014, but after finishing 8th at the PGA Championship, and 2nd at the Masters, he will be picked to be one of the main contenders next weekend.
After an Important Weekend, the U.S. Open Approaches
With both the PGA Tour and the LIV Golf Invitational playing at the same time this weekend for the first time ever, it will be one of the strangest weekends in golf in recent memory. Multiple players have moved away from the PGA Tour, or spoken about their fellow players doing it, and will now play together next week in a major championship.
The U.S. Open will have major storylines, not just because of McIlroy’s continuing pursuit of another major championship, Thomas and Scheffler’s hope for their second this year, or Burns’ pursuit of his first, but also because the players like Johnson, who have already left, and DeChambeau, who is reportedly in the process of leaving, the PGA Tour will take center stage.
As golf’s future begins to look very different, this weekend’s Candian Open will be in the middle of the beginning of a new reality for the sport. It remains to be seen how the new LIV Golf Invitational events will affect the sport, or how many more players will depart from the PGA Tour, but no matter what the events of the past week and past few months have brought uncertainty to the future of golf.