This weekend offers an exceptional opportunity for local players and fans of the game to witness some of the world’s best golfers in action close to home.
The 2012 Canadian Open championship will be played Thursday through Sunday at the Hamilton Golf and Country Club, located just a short drive down Highway 403 east of Brant. This year’s tournament boasts what is arguably the Canadian Open’s strongest field of players in some time, including Ernie Els, who last weekend claimed victory at the British Open, Retief Goosen, a two-time major championship winner, and Webb Simpson, this year’s U.S. Open champion.
Also on course in Hamilton will be PGA Tour veteran Vijah Singh, 2012 Players Championship winner Matt Kuchar and Japanese phenomenon Ryo Ishikawa, among many other well-known and accomplished PGA Tour pros.
More than 150 professionals and amateur golfers will compete at the event, all seeking a share of the Canadian Open’s $5.2 million purse. (The winner will take home $936,000.) Last year, Sean O’Hair claimed victory, adding his name to a list of former champions that include a who’s who of the golf world. Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Walter Hagen, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Greg Norman, Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh and Jim Furyk have all hoisted the Canadian Open trophy.
In total, 23 Canadians will be looking to bring home the country’s biggest golf prize (among them past Masters winner Mike Weir, Calgary’s Stephen Ames and Saskatchewan’s Graham DeLaet), but, this year, all eyes will surely be on Brantford’s David Hearn, the top-ranked Canadian on the PGA Tour in 2012.
Hearn has been having a productive year on the PGA Tour so far this season, to date earning $731,615, which ranks him 97th on the tour’s money list. Hearn’s best finish in 2012 was a tie for 10th at the Sony Open in Hawaii. He currently ranks 93rd in FedExCup points, which determine golfers who take part in a playoff at the end of the golf season.
Earning his first PGA Tour win so close to home in Canada’s premiere golf event would be more than big for the Brantford golfer.
“It feels like I’m on home turf,” Hearn said during an interview with Brant News. “I’d love for it to come together here this week. I feel close to breaking through and getting into contention on a Sunday. That’s one thing I haven’t really done this year. It’s not an easy task any given week on the PGA Tour, but my game feels good.”
With so few Canadians plying their trade on the PGA Tour, it’s quite amazing that Brantford boasts one of the nation’s best players. That is surely partly due to the time Hearn spent playing the game at the Brantford Golf and Country Club, widely regarded as one of the finest courses Ontario has to offer.
Playing so close to home this weekend, Hearn will surely have the support of many friends, family members and fans attending the tournament. Always calm, cool and collected, he isn’t letting the pressure get to him.
“I don’t feel that much (pressure),” Hearn said. “I think Mike (Weir) in his prime probably felt a lot more pressure coming into this event. It’s nice to be the top Canadian, but I’m working on a lot of other goals and things to achieve on the PGA Tour.”
While Hearn works toward those goals, he can rest assured that Brant residents will be cheering him on when he takes to the course this weekend. Here’s wishing Hearn the best of luck at the 2012 Canadian Open.