The RBC Canadian Open and Canadian Golf Hall of Fame have scored a major coup with the announcement that a special guest will be on hand to officially open the national championship and be on hand for the induction of Judy Darling Evans and Bob Vokey Tuesday at Glen Abbey.
Joining current hall of fame members will be a 1995 inductee, who is generally regarded as the greatest golfer of all time as Jack Nicklaus will be on hand for the ceremonies.
The Golden Bear, of course, has had a long relationship with Canada, as the designer of the Abbey, which became, for all intents and purposes, the home of the Canadian Open over the years. The 18-time major champion was also renowned for his support of the Canadian Open as a player.
With that in mind, as well as Nicklaus’ well-known regard for the history of the game, it comes as no surprise that he is here for the tournament kickoff and induction ceremony, which is taking on a new format this year.
As of last year, new members were inducted at individual ceremonies that took place at venues across the country instead of the combined splash that will take place Tuesday.
Obviously, it would have been impossible for Nicklaus with his schedule, and any hall of fame member for that matter, to make every induction ceremony across Canada, so this new format allows for everyone to get together on the grounds of Glen Abbey.
It’s no secret, however, that the Abbey, as we know it, could transform into a combined residential/commercial development in the near future. You can get an update on that here.
There’s plenty of resistance to the plan in Oakville, home of the Abbey, but public information meetings were held recently and officials of Golf Canada have been actively looking for a new home for the association and the Canadian Open in the area, and ClubLink, which is planning the new development, could play an important role in that goal, with all of the golf courses under its umbrella.
Wherever Golf Canada decides to move – Rattlesnake Point site in nearby Milton is the one mentioned most often – Nicklaus’ name is the one most mentioned as a potential designer.
It’s merely speculation at this point, but one has to think that a site visit might be in the cards for Nicklaus while he’s here, stressing the point that there has been no official decision made on the fate of the Abbey or on where the Open/Golf Canada would move if it is to be developed.
It isn’t being too cynical to suggest that there’s a business purpose to the visit as well as a social purpose.
Either way, Canadians welcome the Golden Bear back and it’s a positive announcement from the tournament and hall of fame, which will cherish his presence.