If the last couple of weeks are any indication, Victoria’s Jim Rutledge may be a nice longshot pick to win the RBC Canadian Open, which gets underway Thursday morning at St. George’s Golf and Country Club in Toronto.
After his record-setting win at the Mr. Lube Canadian PGA Seniors Championship, Rutledge was asked if he thought he should get an exemption into the Open, but he was having none of it, saying it should go instead to a young, developing player.
So, it seemed that Rutledge had played his final Canadian Open, until finishing as runner-up at last week’s Players Cup on the Canadian Tour, a position that earned him an Open exemption through that circuit’s Order of Merit.
“I had to either win or finish second last week and I had a very good week in Winnipeg and here I am,” said Rutledge of earning a position in the Open instead of having it handed to him.
“We got held back with weather for about five-and-a-half hours on Saturday. We had to come back and finish Sunday morning, then turn around and play the last round,” he added.
Rutledge, who has also been playing the Champions Tour, says he’s thriving with a busy schedule, but will likely take a couple of weeks off in August.
“I think the fact of the matter is that I’ve been playing a lot of golf and that’s helped. This is probably my fifth week in a row. That’s what we’re out here for is to keep playing and, if I can keep playing week after week, I’ll keep going,” he said.
Before taking time off, Rutledge has the U.S. Senior Open ahead at Sahalee in Seattle and even though it’s not far from home, he says he has never played that course.
“I just never had the chance,” he said. “It’s similar to what we have on the island in Victoria at Royal Colwood and similar to say, a Capilano, but much flatter – lots of high trees and narrow, narrow fairways.”
For now, his immediate concern is St. George’s.
“It’s a great golf course. There will be a lot of concern with some of the greens that are just a little bit severe in slope that they won’t be able to get them as fast as they’d really like to,” said Rutledge.
“This is a bonus being here. I’ve concentrated my golf on the Champions Tour this year. This is another tournament, much bigger purse and I’m just proud that I get the chance to play.”