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Winning a major or Presidents Cup the new goals for Canadians on PGA Tour

Nick Taylor Nick Taylor - The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Winning the RBC Canadian Open has been the goal for Canada’s PGA Tour players for decades. But now that Nick Taylor has won it, Canada's male pro golfers are searching for a new objective.

"I'm hoping that it opens the door, the floodgates, so to speak, that more and more guys win (the Canadian Open)," said Canadian golfing legend Mike Weir on the 18th green as Taylor celebrated his victory nearby. "We've got other players that can do this.

"And now (Taylor's win) just takes that pressure off."

As captain of the International team for next year's Presidents Cup at Royal Montreal Golf Club, Weir is also hoping to stock his team with local talent. He wants a win at the best-on-best tournament where the United States faces players from around the world, minus Europe.

"Nick's put himself in a great position to make the team now so that's great," said Weir. "We've got three or four guys that are neck-and-neck to make the team."

Although Weir's focus is on the Presidents Cup, he has inspired at least two of the PGA Tour's Canadians to a different goal.

"I think I was 15, almost 15, when he won the Masters in 2003," said Taylor. "That was right when I was dropping pretty much every other sport and focusing on golf.

"To have Mike win that tournament I think really made everyone believe that we could do it coming from a country like we do, where golf isn't ideal for not quite half the year where I grew up."

Taylor wants a Canadian to win one of the four majors in men's golf, ending a drought dating back to Weir's win at Augusta 20 years ago. Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., has already won two of the LPGA's five majors, taking the Women's PGA Championship in 2016 and the Evian Championship last year.

"That's the next step," said Taylor, who moved up to No. 6 on the FedEx Cup standings with his win at Toronto's Oakdale Golf and Country Club on Sunday. "Hopefully I'll be in a lot more (majors). I haven't been in as many as I would like over my whole career.

"The more time we're up at the top of the leaderboard, lucky bounces will go in the hole. So hopefully that starts happening."

Adam Hadwin had the same immediate reaction as Taylor when asked what the next goal was for Canadians on the PGA Tour.

"Major championship, I think that's next," said Hadwin as he packed his gear into a car to head to the airport and fly to Los Angeles for the U.S. Open.

Hadwin and Taylor, both from Abbotsford, B.C., are just two of seven Canadians in the field at this week's U.S. Open, the third major of the men's golf season. They'll be joined by Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., Adam Svensson of Surrey, B.C., Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ont., Taylor Pendrith of Richmond Hill, Ont., and Roger Sloan of Merritt, B.C.

Four Canadians have won on the PGA Tour this season, an all-time high. Hughes won the Sanderson Farms Championship on Oct. 2, Svensson followed that up with a win the RSM Classic on Nov. 20, and Conners took the crown at the Valero Texas Open on April 2.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 12, 2023.