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RBC Canadian Open 2010 Tournament Preview: Retief Goosen Heads Field

ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND - JULY 18:  Retief Goosen of South Africa watches his tee shot on the third hole during the final round of the 139th Open Championship on the Old Course, St Andrews on July 18, 2010 in St Andrews, Scotland.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images
Ron FurlongAnalyst IIJuly 21, 2010

Following up a major is never a great spot to be for a golf tournament.

The 101st RBC Canadian Open has managed to put together a serviceable field for this week's tournament.

St. George's Golf and Country Club in Etobicoke, Ontario is the stop for the Canadian Open this year. The tournament has been played on this course four times previous, but hasn't hosted it since 1968.

Two top 10 players are in the field.

Paul Casey, currently eighth in the world rankings, and Luke Donald, who is ninth. Retief Goosen, runner up last year and currently ranked 16th, is also playing, as is the 19th ranked player in the world, Sean O'Hair.

The Canadians have their usual two favorites to root for, Mike Weir and Stephen Ames.

The previous list of winners of this event is fairly impressive. Those who have walked away as the champion at the Canadian Open include Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead, Greg Norman, Nick Price, Tiger Woods, and Vijay Singh.

St. George's Golf Course Superintendent Keith Bartlett will have the bentgrass/poa annua greens rolling about 11 on the Stimpmeter and the thick rough at about 4", which should challenge players to keep it in the fairways. The greens are well sloped, which is why the speed will be kept in the 11 range.

Bartlett was asked in his press conference on Tuesday about the conditions of the greens and specifically hole No. 3, which is the most sloped green at St. George's.

"They don't want to turn it into circus golf," he said. "I think we'll be fine... Even No. 3 green is not going to be treated differently. Everything is the same height and will be rolled the same.... And the greens are rolling well. I think the players will be happy."

St. George's is not terribly long by today's standards, at just a shade over 7000 yards, so shorter hitters with accuracy may do well over the weekend; ala Mike Weir.

Last year at Glen Abbey Golf and Country Club, Nathan Green was able to out duel Retief Goosen in a two-hole playoff for the win. The Australian Green, who is ironically from Toronto, Australia, is back to defend his title.

The most popular player at the Tuesday press conference was, without a doubt, native son Mike Weir.

Mike was asked how much pressure is there as a Canadian to win the Canadian Open.

"There's pressure every year," he answered. "But it's exciting."

Weir was also asked about the field this year.

"It's a great field. RBC has done such a great job. We've got better players that show up. I think the date (the week following the British Open) has been overblown. They've made it easy for the players to get here."

Hardly any of the players in the field have much experience on this golf course, including Weir, who said he has only played it once.

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