Ernie Els touches down in Toronto this week for the 107th edition of RBC Canadian Open at the Glen Abbey Golf Club.
The former world number one is eager to put his missed cut at Royal Troon to bed and get back the form that saw him challenge for the Quicken Loans National title a few weeks back. The 46-year-old also has an appreciation for the tournament, given its rich history.
‘I can still remember watching this tournament on TV in the 1970s and 80s and following guys like Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Lee Trevino, and my childhood hero Gary Player. It’s a great tournament, one of golf’s oldest national opens in fact, and you can’t help but enjoy the enthusiasm and the sense of national pride that the fans have for it,’ he said.
The ‘Big Easy’ has been a regular at the event since his debut in 2011 and has three top-25s from his five starts, and arrives at the Jack Nicklaus-designed course with expectations.
‘I’m really looking forward to it. This is my second visit to Glenn Abbey, having finished tied-21st here in 2013, and I’m extremely motivated to play hard and try to show the same form that helped me register that top-five finish at Congressional last month,’ said Els.
His best result at the Canadian national open was a tie for 12th at the Royal Montreal Golf Club 2014, the same year that countryman Tim Clark won the event.
Els, who is a four-time major winner, has missed eight cuts in 16 starts this year and desires a good performance this week ahead of the upcoming PGA Championship.
World number one and defending champion Jason Day is the tournament favourite, followed by recent US Open winner Dustin Johnson.
Other South Africans in the field this week include Tyrone van Aswegen, Dawie van der Walt, Rory Sabbatini, Thomas Aiken, and George Coetzee.