Mike Weir named captain’s assistant for 2022 Presidents Cup
AUGUSTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 06: Mike Weir of Canada looks on during the Par Three Contest prior to the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 06, 2022 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Golf New Brunswick
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina – Today, International Team Captain Trevor Immelman announced his four captain’s assistants for the 2022 Presidents Cup: Canada’s Mike Weir, Korea’s K.J. Choi, Australia’s Geoff Ogilvy, and Colombia’s Camilo Villegas. The foursome will join Immelman at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, Sept. 20-25.
Weir will make his third appearance as captain’s assistant after serving for Price at the 2017 Presidents Cup and in 2019 for Els. The Canadian has competed in five Presidents Cups (2000, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009) and was teammates with Immelman in 2005 and 2007. An eight-time PGA TOUR winner, Weir is 13-9-2 all-time at the Presidents Cup and one of five International Team members with 10 or more match wins in competition.
“In addition to being captain’s assistants together in 2019 at Royal Melbourne, I have had the pleasure of being teammates with Mike on two occasions, as well as playing together on TOUR for many years,” Immelman said.
In 2007, the Presidents Cup was staged in Canada for the first time, with Weir delivering a 3-1-1 record highlighted by a 1-up victory over Tiger Woods in Singles. Weir won eight times on the PGA TOUR, including the 2003 Masters – one of three victories collected that season. The 51-year-old currently competes on PGA TOUR Champions, where he notched his first victory at the 2021 Insperity Invitational.
“When I think of highlights in my career that really stand out to me, the Presidents Cup always makes the top of the list,” Weir said. “The comradery that continues to grow within this team is irreplaceable. We can all sense the momentum that is building, and it’s been exciting to see Trevor’s incredible dedication and focus on his role. I can’t wait to see what tournament week holds for us and to be a part of the 2022 team.”
The 2022 Presidents Cup will be held at Quail Hollow Club, September 20-25. For more information about the Presidents Cup, or to purchase tickets, please visit PresidentsCup.com.
Select 2022 RBC Canadian Open tickets now available
Golf New Brunswick
The 111th playing of Canada’s National Men’s Open Championship is set for June 6-12, 2022 in Toronto.
TORONTO - (Golf Canada) – Golf Canada, in partnership with title sponsor RBC, is pleased to announce that select tickets for the 2022 RBC Canadian Open are now available.
The RBC Canadian Open will be held June 6-12 at St. George’s Golf & Country Club in Toronto with nearby Islington Golf Club hosting the tournament’s official practice facility. The stars of the PGA TOUR will return to Toronto as St. George’s prepares to host for the first time since 2010. With a new premier June date on the PGA TOUR schedule, the RBC Canadian Open is a summer festival marking the unofficial start of Canada’s golf season. The week-long celebration, which sold out certain days in 2019, offers more than just world class golf… it has something for everybody. The RBC Canadian Open delivers affordable and fun entertainment, with excitement both on the fairway and beyond.
GENERAL ADMISSION – WEEKLY TICKETS & ANYDAY TICKETS
Take advantage of miles of front row seating! General admission tickets provide access to the golf course—get an up-close look at your favourite PGA TOUR stars, enjoy fan activations throughout the golf course and experience the thrill of major professional golf. A fully transferable general admission Weekly Ticket costs $180* and an Anyday Ticket (on sale for a limited time and valid any day of tournament week) costs $90*.
1904 CLUB PRESENTED BY RBC ISHARES
The 1904 Club presented by RBC iShares delivers an elevated fan experience in the heart of the golf course. Located between the 1st and 10th greens, this premium destination is the perfect home base to sit, relax and map out your experience following the stars of the PGA TOUR. Enjoy relief and shelter from the elements, take in the broadcast on TV and treat yourself to upgraded food, beverages and hospitality.
A 1904 Club presented by RBC iShares Weekly Ticket (valid Thursday to Sunday) costs $315*.
*plus applicable taxes and fees
Click HERE to purchase select 2022 RBC Canadian Open tickets
Join us to witness world-class PGA TOUR golf, activities for all ages including The Rink, local food and patio experiences and more. Get your tickets today and be a part of one of Canada’s premier sporting events.
* Youth 13-17 years of age receive a 15% discount, while juniors aged 12-and-under gain FREE grounds admission all week long. Some conditions apply.
If you were to create your perfect golfer from tee to green using only Canadian golfers, whose driving abilities would you take? Whose putting skills? Whose silky-smooth swing? Let’s break down what the ultimate golfer might look like when comprised of some of Canada’s very best.
When it comes to hitting off the tee, it’s not hard to find a few names. One that comes to mind is Taylor Pendrith. Pendrith is currently one of the heaviest hitters on the Korn Ferry Tour circuit. For the 2020-2021 season, his average driving distance is 319.9 yards. Currently ranked fourth in driving distance on the Korn Ferry Tour, he is just over 4 yards off the first-place number. Back in September of 2020, Pendrith made his major debut at the U.S. Open where he finished third in average driving distance among some of the best in the world.
A decade ago, Graham DeLaet was making similar impact on the PGA Tour. In his first season back in 2010, DeLaet ranked sixth in driving distance with a 305.7-yard average. Between 2012 and 2017, DeLaet routinely ranked inside the top 40 in the same statistic. In 2013, DeLaet had the fourth longest drive on the PGA Tour that season, hitting one drive 420 yards.
If we’re talking about driving excellence, Brooke Henderson’s name must be there. For the past five seasons, Henderson has ranked inside the top 25 on the LPGA Tour for driving distance. Last season, she matched her career high ranking of eighth, with an average driving distance of 266.784 yards. However, she doesn’t just bomb the ball – there’s something to be said about her accuracy as well – Henderson ranked 35th for driving accuracy last season. Currently, Henderson is ranked sixth for average driving distance at 278.654 yards.
One of the best Canadians to ever play the game, Stan Leonard won three times on the PGA Tour and eight PGA of Canada Championships. At one point in the 1940’s, Leonard’s tee shots were already averaging 275-280 yards, according to a 1948 Maclean’s article.
On the LPGA Tour, Dawn Coe-Jones had enviable irons. Between 1992 and 2000, she almost routinely finished inside of the top 25 for greens in regulation percentage, and for the two seasons where she was outside, she was still in the top 60 on the LPGA Tour.
Over on the PGA Tour, Stephen Ames’s approach shots were also enviable. Between 2004 and 2008, Ames consistently finished inside the top 50 on the PGA Tour when it came to strokes gained: approaching the green. In 2004, he also finished 24th for greens in regulation.While on the PGA Tour Champions, between 2015 and 2019, Ames consistently finished inside the top 35 in greens in regulation. At his most recent win at the Principal Charity Classic on the Champions Tour on June 6, Ames led the field in greens in regulation with 87.04 per cent – nearly four per cent clear of Fred Couples in second.
Before Ames, there was Dave Barr. Between 1987 and 1994, Barr was consistently in the top 15 for greens in regulation percentage on the PGA Tour. In 1988, he ranked second with a 73.63 per cent average, and in both 1989 and 1992 he finished third.
One of Canada’s best current golfers, Alena Sharp has been playing on the LPGA Tour since the mid-2000’s and was a member of Team Canada at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Over the course of her career, Sharp’s greens in regulation percentage have been impressive. Between 2007 and 2011, Sharp finished inside the top 50 on the LPGA in greens in regulation, and between 2007 and last season, she’s only ranked outside of the top 65 at the end of the season three times. She’s currently ranked 48th in the category this season.
It wouldn’t be a list comprising of some of Canada’s best golfers if Mike Weir weren’t on it. Currently on the PGA Tour Champions, Weir has the best sand save percentage out of anyone with 67.44 and is ranked at 15th in scrambling at 61.70 per cent. Between 2005 and 2014, while playing on the PGA Tour, Weir was ranked in the top five of sand save percentage four times. Twice, Weir had the best strokes gained: around the green number on the PGA Tour – in 2005 with .521 average strokes gained, and again five years later with .559 average strokes gained.
With two wins on the PGA Tour, Nick Taylor is one of Canada’s best current male golfers. In 2017, Taylor was ranked 58th in strokes gained: around the green, 33rd in scrambling, and 16th in scrambling from the rough. In 2018, Taylor was ranked inside the top 30 in scrambling and sand save percentage, and just last season, he ranked 21st in scrambling from the fringe.
With four wins on the LPGA Tour, Lorie Kane is one of the best Canadians to play the game. Between 1997 and 2005, Kane had some of the best greens in regulation statistics on the LPGA Tour – never failing to fall outside of the top 25, including sixth in 2001. Accompanying that, between 1997 and 2011, Kane also had some incredible sand saves statistics, finishing inside the top 25 six times and in 2011 she was ranked second with a 63.33 percentage.
Sandra Post is one of the most legendary golfers to come from Canada. Post was the first Canadian to play on the LPGA Tour, and won eight times. In an article from Maclean’s from 1968, Post herself says that putting is the best part of her game.
On the PGA Tour, Mackenzie Hughes’s putting is top-notch. In 2020, Hughes finished eighth in strokes gained: putting with a .681 average and had the ninth best overall putting average at 1.566. In 2019, Hughes sunk the longest putt of the season when his putt from 85’8” out found the hole. The year before that, he had the 16th longest successful putt, and in 2020 he held the 20th spot. He’s currently ranked third in avoiding three-putts with only 19 occurrences in 70 rounds of golf.
Adam Hadwin is another name that comes to mind when talking about putting. Back in 2016, Hadwin had one of the hottest putters on the PGA Tour. He ranked 11th in strokes gained: putting, fifth in putting average, 25th in one-putt percentage, and 12th in three-putt avoidance. In 2017, he ranked 26th in strokes gained: putting, and 11th in one-putt percentage.
Moe Norman is a legend in the golf universe. Known for his incredible golf swing, Norman had enviable accuracy that is still talked about today – nearly 70 years after playing in his first PGA Tour event.
George Knudson is another golf legend, and he achieved an incredible eight wins on the PGA Tour. And, like Norman, Knudson was known for having an incredible swing – playing a huge role in his accuracy.
Currently, Corey Conners is one of the best Canadian golfers on the PGA Tour and a big part of his success is due to is his accuracy. In 2020, Conners placed 20th in driving accuracy percentage and sixth in greens in regulation percentage. In 2019, he ranked 42nd in driving accuracy percentage and first for greens in regulation percentage. That season, when he did miss, it wasn’t by much – he ranked fourth in distance from the edge of the fairway with an average of 19’8”. Currently, he’s ranked 10th in greens in regulation, with 69.71 per cent.
With two wins on the LPGA Tour, Gail Graham is one of Canada’s best. Winning in 1995 and 1997 – Graham’s driving accuracy was consistently enviable. Between 1992 and 1997, Graham routinely ranked inside the top 60 on the LPGA Tour in driving accuracy. In 1996, she even ranked 21st.
So, who would you choose to create your ultimate Canadian golfer?
Conners keeps it as stress free as possible for PGA lead
KIAWAH ISLAND, SOUTH CAROLINA - MAY 20: Corey Conners of Canada plays his shot from the seventh tee during the first round of the 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island Resort's Ocean Course on May 20, 2021 in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Golf New Brunswick
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. (AP) – Amid the wind and the havoc at Kiawah Island, there was a semblance of simplicity to the way Corey Conners navigated his way around the Ocean Course for a 5-under 67 and a two-shot lead Thursday in the PGA Championship.
He birdied all the par 5s. He made a couple of long putts for birdie. He dropped only one shot. The scorecard alone made it look like a walk on the beach.
It just didn’t feel that way.
“I’d say it’s impossible to be stress-free around this golf course,” Conners said. “You can’t fall asleep out there on any holes. It’s very challenging. I was fortunate to have a good day. Made it as least stressful as possible on myself.”
With a stiff wind into his face for his last five holes, the 29-year-old Canadian played the tough closing stretch in 2 under, one of those birdies a 55-foot putt from just short of the green.
He led by two shots over a half-dozen players. That group included Brooks Koepka, who started his day with a double bogey and stayed largely out of trouble the rest of the way; and Cameron Davis, who overcame a triple bogey on the sixth hole.
Keegan Bradley, Viktor Hovland, Aaron Wise and Sam Horsfield also were at 69. The seven players to break 70 were the fewest for the opening round of the PGA Championship since there were five at Hazeltine in 2002.
No one needed them like Koepka, a major presence when conditions are severe. One hole into this major, he had reason to be more worried about his brain than his ailing right knee.
His opening tee shot on the 10th hole at Kiawah Island was struck poorly and didn’t quite clear a waste area. Koepka tried to do too much from a soft lie in the sand and barely got it out. It led to a double bogey, and the toughest part of the Ocean Course was still to come.
But this is a major, and this is Koepka, and that’s when he’s at his best. He knuckled down from that mess by running off six birdies the rest of the way.
“You can’t do that stuff if you want to win. You’ve just got to be more focused,” said Koepka, who has played only twice in the last three months because of surgery to repair ligaments in his knee. “I don’t know if that’s a lack of not playing or what. It was just stupid. I was able to recover, I guess.”
So did 50-year-old Phil Mickelson, who had four bogeys through six holes and nothing but birdies and pars the rest of the way to join the large group at 70 that included defending champion Collin Morikawa and former U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland.
More telling were those on the other side of par, some of whom will be scrambling to make it to the weekend.
Dustin Johnson, the No. 1 player in the world in the midst of his worst stretch in nearly two years, took a double bogey from a wild tee shot on the front nine and a double bogey on the 18th for a 76. He’s in jeopardy of missing the cut in consecutive majors in the same year for the first time in his career.
Justin Thomas took double bogey on the 18th hole in the morning and two holes later sent a sand shot over the green and just into a hazard for another 6 on the par-5 second. He had a 75.
Rory McIlroy, coming off a victory at Quail Hollow two weeks ago, sent his opening tee shot into a water hazard. He salvaged a bogey, but certainly not his round. McIlroy made bogey on three of the par 5s for a 75, his worst start ever in a PGA Championship.
Jordan Spieth, who needs a victory to complete the career Grand Slam, shot 73.
The PGA of America moved up tee boxes, as expected, to account for the wind. The course played to 7,660 yards – 178 yards shorter than the scorecard – though that didn’t make it easy. Thomas, for one, still hit 7-wood into the 214-yard 17th.
John Daly was among 12 players who shot in the 80s. On the 30-year anniversary of his PGA Championship victory at Crooked Stick, he shot 85.
There were birdies to be had, and mistakes to be made, and Martin Laird was example of both. So wild was his round that he he made bogey on No. 12, ran off four straight birdies and then closed with two bogeys. That added to a 70, not a bad day’s work.
“I kind of went out with the mindset this week, even though it’s hard, don’t give the course too much respect,” Laird said. “You still have to take on shots when you have the chance. When I had a spot where I could go at the flag, I was making sure I kept doing it and hit a lot of really nice shots and managed to make some birdies.
“You’re going to hit bogeys on this golf course,” he said. “It’s nice when you can throw in a bunch of birdies, too.”
Finally heeled from a left knee injury, Koepka injured ligaments in his right knee in March and has played only twice since then, the Masters and last week in Dallas.
He began with a poor 3-wood on No. 10 that didn’t clear the waste area. He took on too much with a soft lie in the sand and barely got it out, leading to a double bogey. But he didn’t flinch and had few complaints about his start.
“It’s a major. I’m going to show up. I’m ready to play,” he said. “I love it when it’s difficult. I think that’s why I do so well in the majors. I just know mentally I can grind it out.”
Canadians Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ont., and Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., are also in the field. Hughes shot a 75 and Hadwin shot a 77.
Oakdale Golf & Country Club to host 2023 & 2026 RBC Canadian Open
Golf New Brunswick
TORONTO – Golf Canada and title sponsor RBC in partnership with the PGA TOUR have announced that Oakdale Golf and Country Club in Toronto will join the celebrated host venue rotation for the RBC Canadian Open, with the Stanley Thompson classic confirmed to host Canada’s National Men’s Open Championship in 2023 and 2026.
A 27-hole facility quietly located near the centre of the Greater Toronto Area, Oakdale will challenge the stars of the PGA TOUR as a 7,460-yard composite championship routing that integrates elements from each of the course’s three nines (Thompson, Homenuik, Knudson).
In 2018, the golf course underwent a major restoration under the guidance of Ian Andrew to bring consistency across the three nines. The facility is currently in the final stages of its multi-million-dollar renovation and revitalization project to the golf course and clubhouse.
“Together with our partners at RBC and the PGA TOUR, I am extremely pleased that the membership of Oakdale Golf and Country Club has accepted our invitation to join us in hosting the 2023 and 2026 RBC Canadian Open,” said Golf Canada CEO Laurence Applebaum. “The property is ideally situated in the heart of the GTA and presents the competitive challenge and operational capacity to stage an incredible championship. This is a special moment in Canadian golf as a classic venue emerges to challenge the world’s best golfers and share its history on the global golfing stage.”
When it welcomes the first of two RBC Canadian Opens in 2023, Oakdale will become the 37th golf course in the 117-year history of the event (and only the seventh since 1977) to host Canada’s National Men’s Open Golf Championship.
“RBC is proud to be title sponsor of the RBC Canadian Open and it is a special honour to see Oakdale Golf and Country Club take its place alongside the rotation of celebrated venues to host Canada’s National Men’s Open Championship,” said Matt McGlynn, Vice President, Brand Marketing, RBC. “The momentum behind this tournament continues to grow, and there is tremendous enthusiasm to introduce Canadian golf fans and the stars of the PGA TOUR including Team RBC to a great golf course and an exceptional tournament experience.”
The 2026 RBC Canadian Open will take on additional significance as the championship will coincide with the celebration of Oakdale’s centennial anniversary.
“Oakdale is honoured to be hosting the RBC Canadian Open in 2023, as well as in 2026, a year in which we will celebrate our 100th anniversary,” said Mark Sadowski, President of Oakdale Golf & Country Club. ” We are proud to be opening our doors to the world’s best golfers so they can test themselves against our recently renovated composite golf course designed by Stanley Thompson and Robbie Robinson, two Canadian Golf Hall of Fame members. Working alongside Golf Canada, the PGA TOUR, and RBC, our membership is committed to delivering an incredible tournament experience, engaging the community surrounding the club, as well as welcoming Canada and the world to Oakdale!”
The golf club also holds a unique connection to the PGA TOUR as eight-time PGA TOUR winner George Knudson was a former Oakdale club professional. Fellow Canadian Golf Hall of Fame honoured member Wilf Homenuik has also enjoyed a 30-year teaching tenure as an Oakdale club professional.
“We’re excited about partnering with RBC, Golf Canada and Oakdale Golf and Country Club for the RBC Canadian Open in 2023 and 2026,” said PGA TOUR President Tyler Dennis. “Oakdale is a hidden gem and players will greatly enjoy the challenge of the facility. And with its centralized location, it will prove to be a perfect venue for the RBC Canadian Open rotation and one that fans of Toronto and Canada will embrace.”
Next June, Oakdale Golf and Country Club will also play host to the Monday Final Qualifier for the 2022 RBC Canadian Open, which will be contested at St. George’s Golf and Country Club with nearby Islington Golf Club as the official practice facility.
OAKDALE GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB – A CLASSIC EMERGES….
Oakdale Golf and Country Club is a traditional tree-lined classic parkland style course over tumbling land, quietly situated in a populated urban setting. Formed by members of Toronto’s Jewish community, the golf course was originally designed in 1926 by renowned course architect and Canadian Golf Hall of Fame honoured member Stanley Thompson. An additional nine holes were built soon after and a third nine holes opened in 1957 under the vision of Thompson’s protégé and fellow Canadian Golf Hall of Fame honoured member, Robbie Robinson. In 2018, the golf course underwent a major restoration under the guidance of Ian Andrew to bring consistency across the three nines. The facility is currently in the final stages of its multi-million-dollar renovation and revitalization project to the golf course and clubhouse.
The Thompson and Homenuik nines make up the original 18 holes created by Stanley Thompson while the Knudson nine reflects the additional work of Robbie Robinson. Smallish greens dominate the Thompson-Homenuik 18, while slightly larger greens are found on the Robinson 9. The ninth hole on Knudson course will be the historic finishing hole for the championship.A practice facility will be built using two existing holes on the property (#1 and #6 on the Thompson nine) while the existing practice range is expected to host a number of event activations. The practice range will be constructed by Ian Andrew who similarly constructed the temporary practice facility at Islington Golf Club which will be part of the 2022 RBC Canadian Open hosted at nearby St. George’s Golf and Country Club.
OLYMPIA FIELDS, ILLINOIS - AUGUST 30: Mackenzie Hughes of Canada after making his putt on the 18th green during the final round of the BMW Championship on the North Course at Olympia Fields Country Club on August 30, 2020 in Olympia Fields, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Golf New Brunswick
PGA TOUR – With a win in his rookie season, it seemed success came easy for Mackenzie Hughes, yet that is anything but the case. The Canadian has overcome hardships at every level of his career, most notably last season with his first trip to the TOUR Championship, thanks to a simple mindset that is prominent in all aspects of his journey from Canada to the United States.
Pendrith earns PGA Tour card after clearing 1,700 point Korn Ferry Tour threshold
Golf New Brunswick
Canadian golfer Taylor Pendrith has earned his PGA Tour card after eclipsing 1,700 ranking points on the Korn Ferry Tour this season.
Pendrith, from Richmond Hill, Ont., shot a final round of 7-under 64 Sunday at the Veritex Bank Championship, which moved him up 27 spots into a tie for 15th.
The 51 ranking points he earned at the tournament gave Pendtirh, who is currently third on the tour’s money list, a total of 1,748. The Korn Ferry Tour calls the 1,700-point mark its “fail-safe threshold” for earning a PGA Tour card for next season.
“It’s been a long journey, for sure, starting in 2014 when I turned pro” the 29-year-old Pendrith said in an interview posted on the Korn Ferry Tour’s Twitter feed.
Pendrith has six top-10 finishes on the Korn Ferry Tour this year. He was runner-up at the Wichita Open and finished tied for second at the Pinnacle Bank Championship and the TPC San Antonio Championship.
He also finished tied for 23rd at the 2020 U.S. Open.
The top-25 players on the Korn Ferry Tour’s money list at the end of the season earn a place on the PGA Tour for the following season.
Adam Svensson of Surrey, B.C., is currently 13th on the list at 1,261 points.
There are seven active Canadians with full or partial status on the PGA Tour this season: Corey Conners (Listowel, Ont.); Michael Gligic (Burlington, Ont.); Adam Hadwin (Abbotsford, B.C.); David Hearn (Brantford, Ont.); Mackenzie Hughes (Dundas, Ont.); Roger Sloan (Merritt, B.C.); and Nick Taylor (Abbotsford).
Graham DeLaet of Weyburm, Sask., started the season on tour but has been off since undergoing a back procedure in February.
Matsuyama becomes first Japanese to win Masters; Conners T8
Golf New Brunswick
AUGUSTA, Ga. – Hideki Matsuyama delivered golf-mad Japan the grandest and greenest prize of all.
Ten years after Matsuyama made a sterling debut as the best amateur at Augusta National, he claimed the ultimate trophy Sunday with a victory in the Masters to become the first Japanese winner of the green jacket.
Matsuyama closed with a 1-over 73 and a one-shot victory that was only close at the end, and never seriously in doubt after Xander Schauffele’s late charge ended with a triple bogey on the par-3 16th.
Moments before Dustin Johnson helped him into the green jacket, Matsuyama needed no interpreter in Butler Cabin when he said in English, “I’m really happy.”
So masterful was this performance that Matsuyama stretched his lead to six shots on the back nine until a few moments of drama. With a four-shot lead, he went for the green in two on the par-5 15th and it bounded hard off the back slope and into the pond on the 16th hole.
Matsuyama did well to walk away with bogey, and with Schauffele making a fourth straight birdie, the lead was down to two shots with three to play.
The next swing all but ended it. Schauffele’s tee shot on the par-3 16th bounced off the hill left of the green and dribbled into the pond. His third shot from the drop area went into the gallery. It added to a triple bogey, and his third close call in a major.
Never mind that Matsuyama bogeyed three of his last four holes, the first Masters champion with a final round over par since Trevor Immelman shot 75 in 2008.
All that mattered was that uphill walk to the 18th green, needing only to blast out of the bunker and take two putts for the victory.
And that’s what he did, soaking in the moment with a few thousand spectators on their feat to celebrate a career-changing moment _ for the 29-year-old Matsuyama, and he hopes for an entire country.
“Hopefully, I’ll be a pioneer and many other Japanese will follow,” Matsuyama said.
Will Zalatoris, the 24-year-ld Masters rookie, holed an 18-foot par putt on the last hole for a 70 and was runner-up. It was the best performance by a first-timer to the Masters since another Dallas kid, Jordan Spieth, was runner-up in 2014 to Bubba Watson.
Spieth had a few fleeting thoughts of coming from six shots behind except for too many missed putts early and missed opportunities late. He bogeyed his last hole for a 70 and tied for third with Schauffele, who shot a 72 with a triple bogey and a double bogey on his card.
Matsuyama finished at 10-under 278 for his 15th victory worldwide, and his sixth on the PGA Tour.
He becomes the second man from an Asian country to win a major. Y.E. Yang of South Korea won the 2009 PGA Championship at Hazeltine over Tiger Woods.
Canadian Corey Conners finished six strokes back of Matsuyama, tied for eighth with American Patrick Reed. The top-10 finish clinched his sport at next year’s Masters. Conners also finished in the top 10 at last year’s event.
There were moments, though, the native of Listowel, Ont., seemed poised to challenge for the green jacket.
Conners had a hole-in-one Saturday and sat in sixth after the third round. He climbed the leaderboard Sunday with a birdie on the second hole, but collapsed through the middle of the round with three bogeys and a double bogey before ending the day with a 2-over 74.
Fellow Canadian Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ont., finished in a six-way tie for 40th spot.
Returning to the 18th green for the trophy presentation, Matsuyama again put on the green jacket and raised both arms in triumph. Augusta National allowed limited spectators, believed to be about 8,000 a day, and most might have remembered him from a decade ago.
He won the Asia-Pacific Amateur to earn an invitation to the Masters, and he was low amateur — tied with defending champion Phil Mickelson that year — to earn a trip into famed Butler Cabin. He won in Japan as an amateur, and four times after he graduated college and turned pro. His first PGA Tour victory was at the Memorial in 2014, prompting tournament host Jack Nicklaus to say, “I think you’ve just seen the start of what’s going to be truly one of your world’s great players over the next 10 to 15 years.”
That moment came Sunday.
Matsuyama is not big on emotion, and he speaks even less even when cornered after every round by the large contingent of Japanese media.
Most of the media was absent this year due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, and Matsuyama had said on the eve of the final round that it has been a lot less stress.
There was plenty on the golf course, right from the start.
Matsuyama sent his opening tee shot into the trees right of the first fairway. He punched it under the trees from the pine straw, hit a soft pitch that rolled down the slope away from the pin and was happy to leave with bogey. Two groups ahead of him, Zalatoris opened with two straight birdies.
Just like that, the lead was down to one.
No one got any closer until the final hour. Matsuyama made birdie from the front bunker on the par-5 second hole. He didn’t make another birdie until the par-5 eighth, and it didn’t matter because no one could put any pressure on him.
Zalatoris misjudged the speed on No. 3 and three-putted for bogey from just off the back of the green. Schauffele was within three of the lead going to the third hole, only to go bogey-bogey-double bogey on the toughest three-hole stretch on the course.
Matsuyama delivered what appeared to be a knockout punch with a nifty up-and-down from right of the green on the eighth for a tap-in birdie, and a lob wedge to the dangerous left pin on the ninth that rolled out to 3 feet. That sent him to the back nine with a five-shot lead.
For the longest time, it looked as though Matsuyama couldn’t wait to get to Butler Cabin and see how he looked in green.
Schauffele, however, rammed in a 20-foot birdie putt from behind the 12th green. He two-putted from 10 feet for birdie on No. 13. He nearly holed out from the fairway for a tap-in birdie on the 14th. And with he nearly holed his greenside bunker shot on the par-5 15th for a fourth straight birdie.
And then all that that worked ended when his ball disappeared below the surface of the pond.
Matsuyama could afford a few bogeys, and all that affected was the final margin. He is the Masters champion, a major that defines his elite status in the game and gives Japan the biggest week it has ever had in April. The week started a week ago Saturday when Tsubasa Kajitani won the second Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
Matsuyama wasn’t around to see it, but he was well aware of it. All he wanted was to follow her path and made Japan proud. His play spoke volumes.
Corey Conners, Mackenzie Hughes, Mike Weir set to represent Canada at Masters
AUGUSTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 06: Mackenzie Hughes of Canada plays his shot from the third tee during a practice round prior to the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 06, 2021 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Golf New Brunswick
AUGUSTA, Ga. – Three Canadians will tee it up in the first men’s golf major of the year today.
Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont.; Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ont.; and Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., are in the field for the Masters at Augusta National.
Weir gets in by virtue of winning the 2003 edition of the tournament.
Hughes is in after qualifying for last year’s Tour Championship, while Conners gets his berth for tying for 10th at last year’s Masters.
The event is back on its traditional April date after being moved to November last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Conners is 43rd in the world men’s golf rankings, Hughes is 51st and Weir is 808th.