Ranking the Best Canadian Golfers of All Time

Ben Alberstadt@benalberstadtFeatured ColumnistJuly 23, 2015

Ranking the Best Canadian Golfers of All Time

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    The RBC Canadian Open, one of the most historic tournaments on the PGA Tour, is underway at Glen Abbey outside Toronto. 

    Unfortunately, no son of Canada has won the country's national open since Pat Fletcher triumphed in 1954. And while the DeLaets and Taylors of the world may have the best chance of snapping the streak, none of the Canadians in the field this week is counted among the all-time greats...yet. 

    And just who are Canada's five best golfers of all time?

    Placing heavy value on PGA Tour wins, overall victories and recency of success (as competition is perpetually getting stiffer), here are the best.

5. Stephen Ames

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    Born in Trinidad and Tobago, Stephen Ames married a Canadian flight attendant and is thus a Canadian citizen. He makes his home in Calgary, Alberta. He is a four-time winner on the PGA Tour and a three-time winner internationally.

    The golfer's most memorable win came in 2006, when he won The Players Championship by an incredible six shots. Aside from Mike Weir's Masters win, Ames' Players triumph is one of the most impressive performances on tour by a Canadian in recent memory. 

    Now transitioning to Champions Tour play, Ames has grossed more than $19 million on the PGA Tour. He's totaled 58 top-10 finishes in 254 starts.

4. Moe Norman

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    Were this a list of the greatest Canadian ball-strikers of all time, the eccentric Moe Norman would occupy the top spotand by a wide margin. 

    Pipeline Moe, with his homemade swing honed through endless hours of trial and error, could stripe the ball like no other. If Norman had the support system around him in the United States that he did in Canada, his record on the PGA Tour could have been an impressive one. 

    Instead, he played on the PGA Tour only sparingly. His record in Canada, however, is superb: two Canadian Amateurs and 55 Canadian Tour wins.

3. Stan Leonard

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    A stalwart on the PGA Tour in the '50s and '60s, Vancouver native Stan Leonard racked up three tour victories, including the prestigious Western Open in 1960. 

    Leonard's three victories factor heavily in his ranking, but it's his 36 Canadian Professional Golf Tour wins and three Canadian PGA Seniors' Championship victories added to the PGA Tour wins that land him the third spot.

2. George Knudson

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    A sweet swinger of the golf club who sadly died from lung cancer at 51, George Knudson won eight times on the PGA Tour in the '60s and '70s.

    He finished inside the top 10 at the Masters three times, tying for second in 1969.

    Knudson won 27 times worldwide, including five Canadian PGA championships.

1. Mike Weir

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    While he's struggled in recent seasons, has taken an indefinite leave of absence, and has been doomed by a combination of short driving and an inability to find fairways, Mike Weir is still the greatest Canadian golfer of all timeby a lot. 

    Weir has eight career wins on the PGA Tour, and as his wins came more recently, and thus amid more intense competition, they are of greater value than Knudson's. Additionally, Weir captured the 2003 Masters, making him the only Canadian winner of a major championship. 

    Weir has won a total of 15 times worldwide and has competed in the Presidents Cup five times. It's the recency of his wins and the Masters victory that make Weir the only choice for the top spot in our list.