It’s really hard to believe that it’s been 10 years since I was first involved with what is now the RBC Canadian Open. Actually, it goes back farther than when Angus Glen held the 2002 and 2007 Opens.
It actually started around 1999, when Randy Paul, a good friend of mine through Nike and IMG, said `Kev, we’ve done some things together. Is there anything else you’d like to do?’
We would do a Skins Game, but I said that one day I’d like to host the Open. He said, ‘I wasn’t expecting that answer.’
Although the Open had mostly been played at Glen Abbey, Randy would tell me that the Royal Canadian Golf Association, now Golf Canada, is looking to move the Open around, so I wrote a letter to then-executive director Stephen Ross to tell him about our interest.
Few people know that it was actually Randy Paul that got the ball rolling because IMG was working with the RCGA.
After that, of course, I started working with the RCGA and I really enjoyed my relationship with Stephen Ross, Bill Paul, Rick Desrochers, Dave Lafleur and the rest of the staff at the time.
I still enjoy the relationship with Golf Canada. Through that relationship, Angus Glen also hosted the 2001 Canadian Women’s Open, won by Annika Sorenstam, although that was separate from our agreement to host the men’s Opens.
From January of 2000, it’s really been a great relationship and I really enjoyed working with Rick Desrochers. I remember thinking back then, here’s a guy I can work with because I go by the motto we can have fun, we can socialize, but also get the job done and work hard.
I remember there was a press conference in downtown Toronto and it was there that Rick, who had been tournament chair at Glen Abbey, told me, `Kev, I won’t be your tournament chairman,’ and I said, `You’re kidding!’
He told me it was going to be Jim Clark from Aurora, Ont. I remember thinking, `I don’t know Jim Clark and now I have to work with him for two years.’
I met Jim that day. He came up and introduced himself and we became good friends. Just like Rick Desrochers, he was a good guy and a great chairman and we worked together on the 2001 LPGA event and the 2002 and 2007 Opens.
The funny thing is that when Coppinwood hosted the Canadian Mid-Amateur championship last year, Jim was our chairman and I couldn’t have been happier. It was special that he was there, just as he was in the past at Angus Glen.
I’ll continue with how the Open transpired 10 years ago in future blogs.