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Taking On A Classic – The 2010 RBC Canadian Open

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Nothing attracts a PGA Tour player to a tournament more than the venue itself.  Resort golf courses like those played in events like the Bob Hope Classic simply make players yawn while courses like the venerable St. George’s G&CC, the host club for this week’s RBC Canadian Open really get their attention.

Although one of the best fields in some time is here in the heart of Toronto this week, there is no mistaking that the golf course is the star.  Perennially rated as one of the best two courses in a nation ripe with quality layouts the Stanley Thompson design is a gem that is the subject of a lot of chatter.

The tumbling layout that is a refuge in a burgeoning metropolitan area last hosted the Canadian Open in 1968 and as Greg Holden, President of the Canadian Golf Superintendent Association stated this morning, “It’s especially an honor to be here now.”

Most notable on the 7079, par 70 layout (which will show brilliantly on television given its elevation changes and flashed up bunkers) will be the green and the rough.

“It’s got a few greens that are a little severe but they all have to play them,” Michael Connell’s caddy mentioned to me as they completed their initial loop around the course. 

Just minutes later I got a good feel for the rough at the course as Connell played his approach from the gnarly stuff from down the left side of the closer.  A full swing from about 170 yards resulted in a shot that advanced about…..8 feet. 

Canadian Matt Hill, the 2009 NCAA Champion now taking on life as a touring professional, addressed the rough almost immediately in his remarks about the course Tuesday.  “Today is my second time playing it, and I feel like the rough’s pretty tough this week, so you definitely gotta hit fairways.”

Being a national championship the PGA Tour has allowed it to be generously more than the tour standard 4 inches this week and it shows.  In watching 2010 Sony Open winner Ryan Palmer attempt to extract himself from a patch of healthy growth on the back left of the par 3, 16th green it took every bit of skill he had to stop a ball close to a pin placement at the front of the putting surface.

Due to the slopes of the greens (most notable on holes like #3 and #18, the surfaces will roll out about 11 on the Stimpmeter this week to avoid any crazy incidents.  An expected but of rain later in the week should help keep them under control.

This is setting up to be a shotmaker's course.  Shaft guru Kim Braly of KBS, who has been witness to many PGA Tour events during his career, called it a U.S. Open-like layout with more reasonable greens and many agree.   Fairways are narrows, greens are small, and players will need to plod their way around the course in order to succeed.

With that being the case the talent pool that have a possibility of winning gets pared down greatly when you assess both their skills and the current state of their game.  2001 Canadian Open Champion, who took down his title at Royal Montreal, could just be the veteran type player who can excel here.  His lack of length may hurt him and require some longer approaches into these small and tilted greens but his patience and putting could keep him in play.

You can also look to Verplank’s Thursday/Friday pairing for some other possible winners.  Hunter Mahan and Tim Clark join him for the initial forays at St. George’s and their group might one to bet on if you are looking for a contender.  Mahan seems to be gauging his yardages well with his approach shots for the times I observed him during Tuesday’s practice round and that could add up to a National Championship for him here in Toronto.

This report provided to GolfWRX.com but Flagstick Golf Magazine (www.flagstick.com)

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Tour News

Tiger Woods fires second-round 76, will miss Genesis Open cut

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Tiger Woods’ trip to Los Angeles is over sooner than he’d hoped. Woods fired a 5-over 76 during the second round of the Genesis Open to miss the presumed cut at Riviera by four strokes (the second round won’t be completed until Saturday morning due to darkness).

Hopes were high Woods would continue to build on a T-23 finish at the Farmers Insurance Open. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, as the driving woes that plagued him at Torrey Pines followed him to the Riv, despite changing shafts in his TaylorMade M3.

RELATED: Tiger Woods WITB

Wayward off the tee, Woods made eight bogeys Friday, unable to grind out a decent score as he did with his opening-round 1-over 72. He was unable to rely on his putter the way did in this first round, three-putting back-to-back holes (No. 11 and 12). A stretch of three straight bogeys sunk Woods’ hopes of hanging around for the weekend.

(c/o PGATour.com)

We won’t have to wait long to see the Big Cat back in action, however, as Woods committed to next week’s Honda Classic at PGA National in Florida. Woods most recently put a peg in the ground at the course in 2014, where he ultimately withdrew due to back spasms.

The 79-time PGA Tour winner hasn’t teed it in back-to-back weeks since 2015, so while fans may not be encouraged by his play, at least he continues to be free from any issues with his surgically repaired back.

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Tiger Woods shoots an opening-round 72 (1-over) at the 2018 Genesis Open

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After hitting just 17 fairways all week at the 2018 Farmers Insurance Open, where he finished T23, Tiger Woods switched driver shafts and added 0.75 degrees of loft in his TaylorMade M3 driver ahead of the 2018 Genesis Open this week. He went from using a Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 70TX shaft, to a Matrix TP6HDe shaft — he used a TP7HDe shaft back in 2015.

So how did the switch work out for him at Riviera CC on Thursday?

Well, he hit driver 9 times during his round of 72 strokes; four went right — one of which got lost in a tree and he had to re-tee — one went left, and four found the fairway. He hit 8-of-14 fairways in total; no Fred Funk, but an improvement. Woods’ bigger issue on Thursday, actually, was that he hit only 7 greens in regulation, leaving himself a few tricky up-and-downs. Despite hitting only 38 percent of greens, Woods managed to make 5 birdies, and he continues displaying prowess on the greens (1.784 Strokes Gained Putting, and 82 feet worth of putts made).

He also showed some flashes of old Tiger with Arnie-esque follow through.

Of course, that means he missed the fairway way right, and he did go onto bogey the hole, but the shot made for some excitement on golf twitter, at least.

According to @RandallMellGC, Tiger described his round in a post-round interview: “I fought hard. I made a few simple, silly mistakes, bad shots here and there, missed on the wrong side, made a few birdies as well. 1-over’s not bad.”

Yea, that’s about right.

Tiger currently sits at T66, and six shots off the leader. Lots of golf to play, but he’ll likely be contending with the cutline come Friday afternoon. How do you think Tiger will finish this week at the 2018 Genesis Open?

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Custom Camerons, wedge stampings, a 6-hybrid, and Tiger wearing Tennis shoes?

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Yesterday, we brought you shots of Thomas Pieters’ iron stamping, Adam Scott’s new (shorter) wand, and more.

Today, we’ve got some more choice shots from the range at Riviera from Tuesday’s practice. Strap in for a sampling from a cornucopia of WITB shots and a helping of Tiger Woods (who we feature in two galleries). We also discussed his new driver shaft yesterday, so if you missed that piece, check it out.

On to the pictures.

First up, Wesley Bryan looks to be gaming an some Anthony Taranto artistry with his 54-degree Mack Daddy 4 wedge. Do work, indeed!

Ted Potter, Jr. won more than a million dollars at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am last week. But as the check hasn’t come yet, he hasn’t been able to buy Goo Gone to take the tape residue off the bottom of his putter.

A custom Cam for Rafa Cabrera Bello.

…and William McGirt.

#GrindGoals (Luke Donald’s 60-degree Mizuno T7)

Vijay Singh looks to have gotten his foot stuck in a bear trap, and yet he’s still practicing!

The most famous putter in golf, and Nike Vapor Advantage tennis shoes for Tiger?

Apparently, all the weight modification available on PXG 0311 irons was insufficient for Charl Schwartzel.

When your name scripting matches your sponsor’s script…

This is not the WITB of a 20-handicapper, rather Camilo Villegas may be the only Tour pro gaming a 6-hybrid.

So much is going on with Camilo Villegas’ irons…

You’ve seen custom stampings, but how about Bubba Watson’s custom shaft and custom shaft graphic?

When you’re the only PGA Tour professional to own a candy store, your wedge imagery reflects that fact.

The Big Cat browsing GolfWRX on mobile, no doubt…

If you’d like to dig deeper, we have two galleries of range photos from the Riv, plus 13 (!) WITB threads. Dig in!

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