Corey Conners PGA TOUR Taylor Pendrith

US wins Presidents Cup for 12th time with Canada’s Conners and Pendrith wanting more

Tony Finau of the United States and Taylor Pendrith of Canada (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Corey Conners and Taylor Pendrith made Canadian history twice at the Presidents Cup and, although they’re disappointed in the result, they’re ready for more.

It was the first time two Canadians had ever played at the prestigious best-on-best tournament that sees 12 Americans take on 12 players from around the world, excluding Europe. When the longtime friends were partnered on Friday they became the first-ever Canadians to play together at the storied tournament.

But Conners, from Listowel, Ont., lost to Xander Schauffele 1 up in Sunday’s seventh match to clinch the American victory. Pendrith, from Richmond Hill, Ont., also lost his match in the event’s final round when he dropped a 3 and 1 decision to Tony Finau.

Ultimately, the United States beat the international team 17.5 to 12.5 for its 12th Presidents Cup title.

The Canadians were the only members of the international team not to earn a point over the four-day, five-session tournament. Conners said he was disappointed to not maintain the international team’s momentum in the final round.

“All the guys were ready to go today,” said Conners by the 18th green. “Some of the guys got some points early to keep us in it.

“I’m really disappointed not to be able to add to our total, but it was a fun week.”

The biennial event alternates between courses in the U.S. and international locations. The next edition will be at Royal Montreal Golf Club, which last hosted in 2007 when Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., had a legendary showdown with Tiger Woods in the final round.

“It’s definitely going to be a goal of mine to make that team,” said Pendrith, who like Conners made his Presidents Cup debut. “This week was great, and I’m hungry to get some points.”

The U.S. dominated the first two days of play, building a commanding 8-2 lead. But the internationals gained ground on Saturday, finishing the fourth session just four points back.

With the U.S. leading 11-7 and needing just 15.5 points to win, American captain Davis Love III was aggressive in his picks for individual play, putting Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth – his most consistent players – into Sunday’s first two matches.

That gamble produced mixed results with South Korea’s Si Woo Kim beating Thomas 1 up but Spieth topped Australia’s Cam Davis 4 and 3.

Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama tied Sam Burns and Patrick Cantlay downed Australia’s Adam Scott 3 and 2.

Colombia’s Sebastian Munoz kept the internationals in it with a 2 and 1 victory over Scottie Scheffler before Pendrith and Conners lost their matches as the Americans clinched their title.

Finau jumped out to a 2 up lead in his match against Pendrith, but the Canadian answered back with birdies on the third and fourth holes to tie it.

Pendrith made a 33-foot chip in on the par-3 sixth hole for a birdie and his first lead of the match. He also birdied the next hole, but Finau birdied on Nos. 9 and 12 to tie the match, then pulled ahead with birdies on Nos. 13, 16 and 17.

“I felt like I played decent today in the middle of the round and had some chances on the back nine,” said Pendrith by the 17th green. “No. 15 stings. No. 16, I hit a good putt, but Tony played really good as well.

“He made seven or eight birdies or something like that. Can’t really do much about that.”

Schauffele and Conners were tied through the first five holes, but the American eagled and had a birdie on Nos. 6 and 7 to take a lead. He added to that when Conners bogeyed No. 10. The Canadian rallied with three consecutive won holes, starting with No. 12, to even the score.

Conners bogeyed the par-4 15th hole, which Schauffele parred, and the American held on the rest of the way.

“It was a good battle. I feel like every match I got down, every match I fought back,” said Conners. “Ultimately I came up a little short, but good stuff.”

Play continued, however, with the remaining matches being seen to completion. South Korea’s Sungjae Im bested Cameron Young 1 up. Billy Horschel conceded to South Korea’s K.H. Lee for a 3 and 1 internationals win.

Max Homa fended off fan favourite Tom Kim of South Korea for a 1 up win, Collin Morikawa beat Chile’s Mito Pereira 3 and 2, and in the day’s final match South Africa’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout downed Kevin Kisner 2 and 1.

Ryan Hart, the executive director of the 2024 Presidents Cup, said he hopes that Royal Montreal will truly feel like an away game for the Americans.

“All the structures will be wrapped black and gold,” said Hart, gesturing to the white-sheathed structures at Quail Hollow. “So (the international team) can come out and we can hopefully have the entire country feel like they are part of the international team and cheer them on to victory.”

The atmosphere at the Presidents Cup has changed in the 15 years since Canada last hosted the event. Organizers said that 40,000 spectators attended the Presidents Cup every day, a massive gathering for golf that was amplified because those crowds were concentrated around just four or five groups the first three days of the tournament.

Pendrith said that it was the most people he had ever played in front of but he feels like he rose to the occasion.

“Obviously, the stakes were really high. Lots of pressure,” said Pendrith. “But the first day, I feel like I handled it pretty well.

“Really, all week, it was a lot of fun, and it will be a good experience to move forward.”

Corey Conners PGA TOUR Taylor Pendrith

Internationals close gap at Presidents Cup, trail Americans 11 7 after four sessions

Taylor Pendrith of the International team blasts a sand shot but the ball failed to leae the bunker during the PGA President's Cup golf tournament on September 24, 2022, at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C. (Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Canada’s Taylor Pendrith thought he and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama were going to earn some points back for the international team when they were announced as partners for Saturday’s afternoon session at the Presidents Cup.

Unfortunately for them, they drew the duo of Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth, the most reliable pairing for the United States.

After Matsuyama birdied the first hole for an early lead in the four-ball match, the Americans had six birdies to earn a 4 and 3 win, the one international loss in the day’s second session. The United States held an 11-7 lead when play wrapped.

“They just kept making birdies. Hideki hit an unreal shot on No. 1, and we went 1 up,” said Pendrith just off the 15th green at Quail Hollow Club after shaking hands with Spieth and Thomas. “I don’t know how many birdies exactly they had, but it seemed like a lot.”

Shortly after that defeat, South Korea’s Sungjae Im and Colombia’s Sebastian Munoz earned a 3 and 2 win over Tony Finau and Kevin Kisner.

Then South Korea’s Si Woo Kim and Tom Kim birdied No. 18 for a 1 up win over Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele. Finally, Australia’s Adam Scott and Cam Davis held off Billy Horschel and Sam Burns for a 1 up victory as the internationals closed the gap on the host Americans.

Pendrith, from Richmond Hill, Ont., and Matsuyama were consistently driving further and with more accuracy than Spieth and Thomas, but the internationals struggled with their chipping and putting as the Americans excelled.

“I think the pins, some of the pins, were pretty tricky,” said Pendrith. “I didn’t really have many great looks at birdie.

“Hitting into 30 feet with putts that break eight to ten feet, it’s tough to make those.”

It was the second time on Saturday that Spieth and Thomas had beaten a Canadian. In the morning session, Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., and Im also conceded to the Americans on the 15th green for a 4 and 3 loss.

Pendrith and Conners were paired together in Friday’s final match, a close 1 up loss to Horschel and Max Homa that was decided on the 18th hole. Conners was then in Saturday’s first match of the day, about 12 hours later.

“It was an early morning but I had a great sleep last night and I was raring to go again,” said Conners. “I was a little sore leaving the golf course after being close in that match so getting back this morning I was looking forward to playing again.

It’s the first time two Canadians have played at the prestigious Presidents Cup, which will move to Royal Montreal Golf Club for the next edition in 2024. Conners and Pendrith are the only players on the international team to not yet earn a point, with three of their four losses coming at the hands of Spieth and Thomas.

That led to Spieth and Thomas being asked why they hate Canada.

“That’s not a serious question, is it?” laughed Thomas.

“We love Canada,” said Spieth. “Remember in two years, that’s where we’re going to be.”

Added Thomas: “We love Canada.”

“We try to challenge whoever we’re going to play as best we could,” said Spieth, who has an impressive 8-2-0 record when paired with Thomas at the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup.

“We have full trust and belief that we can beat whoever we play,” said Thomas. “Whether it’s a Presidents Cup or a Ryder Cup or a money game, we enjoy the challenge and try to embrace it.”

The first team to 15.5 points will win the biennial event that sees 12 Americans take on 12 players from around the world, excluding Europe. Sunday’s round will be singles matches, with Pendrith playing Finau and Conners taking on Schauffele.

In morning play Saturday, Scott and Matsuyama beat Cameron Young and Collin Morikawa 3 and 2 in the day’s second match. Lee and Tom Kim beat Scheffler and Burns 2 and 1. The U.S. answered back as Finau and Homa topped Si Woo Kim and Davis 4 and 3.

Corey Conners PGA TOUR Taylor Pendrith

Americans add to lead at Presidents Cup as Canada’s Conners, Pendrith paired together

aylor Pendrith of Canada and the International Team and Corey Conners of Canada and the International Team look on from the fourth tee during Friday four-ball matches on day two of the 2022 Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow Country Club on September 23, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Taylor Pendrith centred himself over the ball, took a breath, and rolled his putt 13 feet, five inches into the hole. He pumped his fist and embraced partner Corey Conners on the 18th green as the international team celebrated on the fairway and fans cheered.

Pendrith’s putt kept the hopes of a draw against Americans Billy Horschel and Max Homa alive in the second round of the Presidents Cup, a potentially critical half point for the international team.

But Homa extinguished those hopes a moment later when he drained his 11-foot putt for a bigger fist pump, a louder cheer, and a 1 up win over the Canadians. That victory also gave the Americans a commanding 8-2 lead over the internationals on Friday at Quail Hollow Golf Club.

“I still feel like there’s some adrenalin flowing,” said Conners on the lip of the 18th green after the loss. “It’s tough. We played against some world class players.

“The atmosphere’s pretty loud, there’s a lot going on. You try to enjoy it, but it’s definitely challenging.”

This year’s Presidents Cup is the first time two Canadians have played in the event that sees 12 Americans take on 12 players from around the world, excluding Europe. Conners and Pendrith had different partners in the first round, making Friday’s pairing the first time two Canadians have ever teamed up at the event.

“To pair up today is really special,” said Conners, who also went to Kent State University with Pendrith. “Hopefully we’ve got a couple more in us, and we’ll see if we can get some points the rest of the way.”

Conners, from Listowel, Ont., will be paired with South Korea’s Sungjae Im for foursome play in the third round Saturday morning. The pairings for Saturday afternoon’s fourth round will be announced after the completion of the third round.

The first team to 15.5 points wins the PGA Tour-sponsored event, with the Americans’ sizable lead putting Sunday’s fifth round at risk of not being played at all.

Im and Colombia’s Sebastian Munoz tied Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns in the day’s second match. Chile’s Mito Pereira and South Africa’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout also tied Kevin Kisner and Cameron Young in the third match to earn the internationals their second point of the tournament.

“We’ve just got to keep fighting, man,” said team captain Trevor Immelman of South Africa. “Keep putting one foot in front of the other.

“We feel like we’ve played some pretty good golf, some solid golf tee-to-green, particularly the last couple of days, but we have absolutely been outputted. No doubt about it.”

Perennial American pairing Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas beat Australia’s Adam Scott and Cam Davis 2&1 in the day’s first match. Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele downed Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama and South Korea’s Tom Kim 3&2.

Both of the Canadians showed off their specialties throughout the match. Pendrith had the longest drive on eight of the foursome’s holes, consistently hitting the fairway. Conners, meanwhile, was unerring in his approach shots, regularly dropping in closest to the pin.

Their displays of power and accuracy even wowed the loudly pro-American crowd at Quail Hollow, earning loud rounds of applause, whistles as the long shots flew through the air, and calls of “Maple syrup!” and “Peameal bacon!”

“We just try to play our own games,” said Conners. “I try to do what I do well. I try to get it on the fairway, get it on the green, have some birdie looks and free up Taylor to hit the balls and attack some of those pins.”

Putting was the Canadians’ Achilles heel early in the match, however, as Horschel and Homa took a 2 up lead on the front nine. Conners birdied the par-4 11th hole and the par-4 13th to tie the match. Homa then birdied the par-4 No. 17 to set up his and Pendrith’s fateful putts.

“It stings a little bit. Max made two really nice putts on the last two holes,” said Pendrith, who is from Richmond Hill, Ont. “We battled very hard but didn’t have our best stuff early in the round. Good enough to stick around.”

Officials said that about 40,000 fans attended each of the first two days at the Presidents Cup, with a similarly large crowd expected on Saturday and, if play continues, the same number on Sunday. The most notable people in Friday’s crowds were former U.S. Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, who arrived at Quail Hollow Club several hours before Scott, Davis, Spieth and Thomas teed off in the day’s first group.

Corey Conners PGA TOUR Taylor Pendrith

Americans take 4-1 lead at Presidents Cup as Canada’s Conners, Pendrith make debuts

Corey Conners (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Taylor Pendrith woke up early on Thursday morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. Thoughts of his first tee shot at the Presidents Cup were running through his head, keeping him awake.

But when Pendrith laid into a 308-yard drive on the first hole at Quail Hollow Club, he felt like he belonged at the prestigious international event.

“I knew I was going (to) be nervous. I think if you’re not nervous, there’s something wrong with you,” said Pendrith. “It’s obviously a huge event with tons of history and to be a part of the squad is amazing.

“I was thinking about that tee shot for a long time but I stepped up and hit a really good one and just trusted my skills.”

Pendrith, from Richmond Hill, Ont., and Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., debuted for the international team at the Presidents Cup on Thursday. Pendrith and partner Mito Pereira of Chile battled with American Tony Finau and Max Homa until the 18th hole, eventually losing 1 up as the United States took a 4-1 lead overall.

“I think me and Mito did a good job today staying in it, giving ourselves lots of chances and staying patient,” said Pendrith, as he and Pereira rallied from a two-shot deficit after six holes to carry a tie into the final hole. “Lots of confidence moving forward to tomorrow.

“If we can come out and steal a couple of points I think we’ll be right in it.”

Conners and Pendrith, close friends who were teammates and roommates at Kent State University, will be paired together for Friday’s final match as the event’s format switches from foursomes to four ball.

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It’s the first time two Canadians have played in the best-on-best tournament that sees 12 Americans take on 12 players from around the world, excluding Europe.

Conners and South Korea’s Sungjae Im fell to Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas 2&1 in Thursday’s second match. They shook hands on the 17th green with a tie out of reach.

“We just didn’t get off to the best start in the match,” said Conners. “We battled back nicely but just couldn’t get the important putts to go in at the end there.”

South Korea’s Si Woo Kim and Australia’s Cam Davis were the only international pairing to win. After seven holes they were trailing Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns 3 up but closed out with six birdies in their last 10 holes, including four in a row on Nos. 15-18, to beat the Americans 2 up.

“It’s always more satisfying when you start off not having your best stuff and then you find a way to turn it around, especially against the calibre of players that are playing here,” said Davis.

“I was just really proud of the way I started hitting good shots when it mattered, and I was really proud of the way Woo started getting the putts at perfect speed.”

Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele beat Australia’s Adam Scott and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama 6&5. Americans Cameron Young and Collin Morikawa downed Tom Kim and K.H. Lee, both from South Korea, 2&1.

Typically a biennial event, the 2021 Presidents Cup was postponed one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Venues alternate between the U.S. and international locations, with Royal Montreal Golf Club scheduled to host the Presidents Cup in 2024.

This year’s edition is undeniably on American soil, with fans wearing star-spangled outfits, loudly cheering their team, and booing when international fans tried to get their own chants going.

The internationals weren’t without their supporters, however. A pair of fans from Winnipeg were dressed as Mounties despite the 35 degrees Celsius heat, with a Canadian flag draped off the grandstand tightly hugging the first tee box. They chanted Conners’s and Pendrith‘s names when they were introduced to the crowd, even if they were quickly drowned out by “U-S-A” chants.

“I’ve never experienced anything like this before. It was crazy. It was so much fun,” said Pendrith. “Tons of people, good support for the international team.

“The first tee shot was quite the experience, got up there and hit it right down the middle and settled in after that.”

Corey Conners PGA TOUR Taylor Pendrith

Canada’s Conners and Pendrith bring chemistry to international team at Presidents Cup

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - SEPTEMBER 21: Corey Conners of Canada and the International Team walks with the International team up the 18th hole during a practice round prior to the 2022 Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow Country Club on September 21, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Finding chemistry on the eclectic Presidents Cup international team can be a challenge, but Canadians Corey Conners and Taylor Pendrith are bringing their own spark to captain Trevor Immelman’s squad.

Conners and Pendrith played together on Golf Canada’s amateur teams before becoming teammates at Kent State University and were even the best man at each other’s weddings. They’ll be making their Presidents Cup debuts on Thursday as the best-on-best tournament tees off at Quail Hollow Golf Club outside Charlotte, N.C.

“To be here with him is really special, and if we have a partnership, I think we can certainly feed off of one another,” said Conners before Wednesday’s first-round draw. “If I hit a poor shot, I know he’s going to bail me out, and if he struggles on a hole, I’m going to be giving it my all to give us a chance to win the hole.

“We’re certainly great friends and have played a lot of golf together, so I’m very confident in his ability.”

Although Immelman split the Canadians up in the first round’s draw on Wednesday afternoon, it’s likely they will have a chance to play together at the PGA Tour event that sees 12 Americans face 12 players from around the world, excluding Europe.

Conners, from Listowel, Ont., will partner with South Korea’s Sungjae Im against Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas in the second match of the first round. Pendrith, from Richmond Hill, Ont., will team with Chile’s Mito Pereira against Tony Finau and Max Homa in the day’s fifth match.

Pendrith said he’s enjoying sharing the honour of playing on the international team with one of his best friends.

“To be with him is really cool and comforting,” said Pendrith. “He’s probably the person I’ve played my most rounds of golf with, ever.”

Conners was an automatic selection after finishing the PGA Tour season fourth on the international team standings. He rose up from sixth after Australia’s Cam Smith and Chile’s Joaquin Niemann jumped to the Saudi-backed LIV Tour on Aug. 30, disqualifying themselves from the PGA Tour-backed Presidents Cup.

Pendrith was officially selected by Immelman on Sept. 6 after he missed four months of the PGA Tour season with a fractured rib.

The two friends have very different play styles, with Pendrith renowned for his long drives and Conners considered a surgeon with his irons.

“To get paired with him would be great,” said Pendrith. “He’s obviously an unbelievable iron player. If I drive it well and set him up well, he can do his job in the fairways, and I think it would be a great pairing.”

On paper the Presidents Cup result seems like it could be a foregone conclusion.

The American team’s average world ranking is 11.58, while Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama – currently No. 17 on the world rankings _ is the highest-rated member of an international team depleted by the defections to the LIV Tour. The betting line reflects that, with oddsmakers putting the Americans as -700 favourites.

“We’re embracing (being underdogs). We’re ready to go. All 12 of us are ready to go. We’re here and we’re ready to battle, and it’s going to be a fun week.”

Taylor Pendrith

History is also not on the internationals side. The United States has won the biennial event 13 times, with the internationals winning in 1998 at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia and the two sides tying in 2003 at Fancourt Hotel and Country Club in George, South Africa.

Australia’s Adam Scott has played in nine of those losses and assistant captain Geoff Ogilvy, also from Australia, said those losses have served as a motivation for his countryman.

“He just wants to win it for everybody,” said Ogilvy, adding that Scott is like a fifth assistant captain. “It’s like he wants to win it for everybody who never got a chance to win one.”

However, the players on the international squad have combined for 33 victories on the PGA Tour, including Conners’ win at the 2019 Valero Texas Open. Assistant captain Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., said there’s a lot of positivity in the international locker room.

“The mood has been great. The guys are very enthusiastic. We feel they’re up for the challenge,” said Weir. “Their games look great. There’s a great buzz in our team.”

The next Presidents Cup will be in 2024 at Royal Montreal Golf Club, which hosted the event in 2007.

Corey Conners PGA TOUR Team Canada

Canada’s Corey Conners sits T2 after Round 2 of BMW Championship

WILMINGTON, Del. – Adam Scott felt he was playing well enough that he should start seeing some better scores at some point. That moment appears to have arrived at just the right time.

Scott put together another tidy round Friday except for one hole _-a double bogey on the 17th – for a 2-under 69 that gave him a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the BMW Championship.

Masters champion Scottie Scheffler opened with three straight birdies and then cooled for 67, while Jordan Spieth’s hopes for a bogey-free round ended by a few inches when his tee shot caught the sticky first cut instead of the fairway. His bogey gave him a 67.

They were one shot behind, along with Cameron Young (68) and Corey Conners (67).

I felt like the last two days I’ve played really solid, gotten the ball in position off the tee, had a lot of good iron shots. Felt like I’m striking the ball well, and I’m just trying to give myself as many looks as possible.

Corey Conners

Scott, who was at 8-under 134, wasn’t sure how much golf would be on is plate in August. He was No. 77 in the FedEx Cup, not assured of even making it to the BMW Championship, until a tie for fifth last week in the FedEx Cup playoffs opener.

That was enough of a spark, and now he’s looking to cash in as one of the top 30 players who make it to the FedEx Cup finale next week in Atlanta for the Tour Championship.

“I’m in great shape going into the weekend. I don’t even know when the last time I led a tournament was,” Scott said.

He won at Riviera in 2020. His last 36-hole lead was at Doral for a World Golf Championship in 2016, which he went on to win.

“I certainly haven’t had my best stuff for quite a while. It’s been a battle for sure,” he said. “But that’s how this game is. I’d like to make the most of this position now over the next 36 holes.”

A brief look behind would remind him it won’t be easy, and the Australian knows this.

Spieth has looked solid over two days at Wilmington Country Club, with only one bogey in each round. He missed the cut last week and feels his postseason didn’t start until Monday when he arrived at Wilmington. That’s not just about trying to erase a bad memory.

Spieth headed to southern tip of Baja California after the British Open, wanting a break before the hectic finish to the season. One problem. Upon returning to Dallas, every course he plays was closed, and his only option was hitting from a stall in a practice facility.

Only when he arrived in Tennessee last week did he realize his swing had stayed on vacation, and his coach wasn’t available to join him until Delaware. He turned it around quickly.

“I feel like I’m doing everything good, nothing spectacular, but I feel like in every facet of my game, it’s trending and improving, and I know what to do to get it better and better,” Spieth said. “Certainly feels really good. Coming into the weekend, it’s a good opportunity to just have a lot of trust, focus on trying to win this golf tournament, not think about next week.”

Scheffler also missed the cut last week and joined Spieth and others at Pine Valley on Sunday. And then he opened with three short birdies, didn’t make too many mistakes the rest of the way and will be in the final group with Scott on Saturday.

Conner is at No. 29 and is in a great spot to protect his position for East Lake. Young seems to play great every week – twice contending in majors, five runner-up finishes for the season. One win would tick a lot of boxes on his list of goals.

Xander Schauffele holed out with a wedge on the 17th hole for an eagle and a 69, and he was in he group two shots behind that included defending champion Patrick Cantlay and Rory McIlroy, who chipped in for birdie on his final hole for another 68.

Scott didn’t get a finish quite that good. He was sailing along on a warm, breezy afternoon when he pushed his tee shot near a tree. The lie was clean, but his punch shot toward the fairway hung up in rough. From there he didn’t reach the green or get up-and-down, and all that meant a double bogey.

“It’s a good reminder for the weekend that I’ve really got to keep it under control and don’t want to have too many get off the map and get out of position around here,” Scott said.

Corey Conners RBC Canadian Open Team Canada

Corey Conners excited for return of the RBC Canadian Open

Corey Conners
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SOUTH CAROLINA - APRIL 17: Corey Conners of Canada walks across the first green during the final round of the RBC Heritage at Harbor Town Golf Links on April 17, 2022 in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

While Corey Conners has enjoyed notable success on the PGA TOUR over the past two seasons, perhaps his biggest regret during that time was not being able to share that success with Canadian fans on Canadian soil. But with the RBC Canadian Open returning this year, the wait is over for the Listowel, Ont., native as he will be teeing off against the best in the world next week in Toronto.

The RBC Canadian Open was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but will make its long-awaited return this year at the St. George’s Golf and Country Club, with nearby Islington Golf Club as the official practice facility.

“I’ve been looking forward to coming back to Canada for some time now… Just super excited overall,” said the 30-year-old during media day earlier this month via conference call.

“To have the crowd made up of pretty much all Canadians is going to be amazing,” added the long-time Canadian National Team member. “I know the fans will be really behind all the Canadian players, and that’s something that I’m super excited about and I’ve certainly missed the last couple of years.” 

According to tournament director Bryan Crawford, this year’s RBC Canadian Open will be a treat for players and fans alike. Crawford is quick to point out that the goal is to offer a best-in-class experience for everyone in attendance.

“That’s what we are aiming for, a best-in-class event for players, caddies, volunteers, partners and our fans,” he said. “It starts with a great golf course, and you can’t ask for a better one than St. George’s—it’s one of the premier facilities in Canada.”

2019 champion Rory McIlroy is back this year to defend his crown and reigning Masters champ and current world no. 1 Scottie Scheffler, and five-time PGA TOUR winner and world no. 3, Cam Smith. Other notable names are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

Besides the star-studded line up on the golf course, this year’s tournament will feature two chart-topping musical acts on stage as Flo Rida and three-time Grammy award winner Maroon 5 are schedule to entertain fans on June 10 and June 11 respectively as part of the RBCxMusic Concert Series taking place at nearby Richview Collegiate.

“The RBCxMusic Concert Series was an overwhelming success in 2019 and will once again attract new fans to experience the energy and excitement of the RBC Canadian Open,” noted Golf Canada Chief Commercial Officer, John Sibley.

At the recent PGA Championship, Conners reiterated his feelings about returning to Canada in early June.

“Apart from the major championships, I don’t know if I’ve been as excited for a golf event or a PGA TOUR event in my life. I’m really excited to get back to Canada. It’s been unfortunate that we haven’t been able to get there the last couple of years,” noted the top-ranked Canadian.

“I know the fans will be out in full force and supporting the Canadians, and hopefully we can put on a good show.”

Given his stellar play, Canadian golf fans are also understandably excited to see their home-grown talent compete against the best in the world.  

Conners has recorded impressive results on the PGA TOUR recently including a tie for sixth place at the Masters in early April—the third year in a row that the talented young Canadian has finished in the top-10 at Augusta National. He also finished in a tie for 15th place last summer at The Open Championship played at the Royal St. George’s Golf Course.

“Personally, I feel now like my game is a lot more refined, so I’m going to be teeing it up (in Canada) with really high expectations for myself,” Conners pointed out.

It is interesting to note that a Canadian has not won the RBC Canadian Open since Pat Fletcher did it back in 1954.  

Besides Conners, there will be a talented group of Canadians eager to end that drought this year at the 111th playing of Canada’s National Men’s Open Championship.  Among those already confirmed are Adam Hadwin, Mackenzie Hughes, Nick Taylor, Taylor Pendrith, Adam Svensson, Michael Gligic, Roger Sloan, Aaron Cockerill, and Brendan Leonard. The final field can be found here.