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Hamilton Golf and Country Club set to host 2012 Canadian Open

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The Canadian Press
7/21/2010 11:33:46 AM
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TORONTO -- The RBC Canadian Open is staying on the move.

Golf Canada confirmed Tuesday that members of Hamilton Golf and Country Club have approved a proposal to host the event in 2012. The deal still needs to pass through city council, but that is considered a formality.

"We're just absolutely thrilled," said Scott Simmons, the executive director of Golf Canada.

The organization is making good on its promise to start rotating the tournament around various venues. The 2010 Canadian Open is being held this week at St. George's Golf and Country Club in Toronto and next year's event is at Shaugnessy Golf and Country Club in Vancouver.

After Hamilton serves as host in 2012, it will return to Glen Abbey in Oakville, Ont., in either 2013 or 2014. The tournament is also expected to be held in Montreal one of those years.

"It's a national Open," said Simmons. "We want to move it around to the best courses in the country. Period."

Golf Canada actually has a very tentative plan in place for the tournament until 2017. It's "aggressively" seeking a venue in Calgary that could handle the event.

One of the main challenges with the city is finding a championship-level course that measures around 7,800 yards because the ball carries roughly 10 per cent farther at that elevation.

"Calgary is a city that we'd love to be in theoretically," said Simmons. "If there was a course there that could handle the Open, (we'd go)."

Veteran PGA Tour player Stephen Ames, who lives in Calgary, doesn't believe such a facility currently exists.

"There isn't a current one right now -- we've looked," said Ames. "A lot of golf courses have come up and asked about hosting it and we looked at them and asked, `Yeah, are you willing to add about 1,000 yards to your golf course?'

"That means cutting trees down, making new tee boxes. They're not willing to do that."

The immediate future of the event will be affected by negotiations with the PGA Tour and RBC on a pair of deals that expire in 2012. The tour hasn't set its schedule beyond that season while the bank is only committed to serve as title sponsor until then.

Hamilton has hosted the Canadian Open on four previous occasions. The traditional H.S. Colt layout was extremely popular among players when it was staged there in 2003 and 2006.

"I think it's great," said Canadian veteran Mike Weir. "Another two great venues coming up -- Shaughnessy next year and then Hamilton again. I think the players like that, playing these great golf courses that we have here. Everybody really liked Hamilton the last couple times."

With this week's tournament returning to St. George's -- another popular course that came with several logistical challenges -- there is talk that other venues previously believed to be too small could find themselves in the running for a Canadian Open down the road.

Simmons thinks it's a little too early to have that conversation.

"Let's wait until this week is over, let's wait until the dust settles," he said. "This is a huge logistical undertaking."

Golf Balls (Photo: Phil Inglis/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Phil Inglis/Getty Images)
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