It’s been a while since a Canadian won their national open.
Pat Fletcher, who was actually born in England, was the last Canadian champion in one of golf’s oldest events, taking the title representing Canada in 1954.
You’d have to go back even further to find a Canadian-born winner. There’s only one: Carl Keffer, who won twice, in 1909 and 1914.
So, this week at the RBC Canadian Open is a big deal for Canadian David Hearn, as he is the highest-ranked home-country player in the field this week. He’s enjoying his best season on the PGA Tour, making 17 of 24 cuts and scoring seven top-20 finishes. Last year, he finished third in this event, two strokes behind defending champion Jason Day. Hearn gets another crack at host Glen Abbey, same site to his run that was fueled by a second-round 64 last year.
Though he came up just short of delivering the end to an outrageous national drought, Hearn is fueled, in part, by the ovation he got for last year’s effort.
“At the time I was just in the moment,” Hearn said. “But looking back, I hope I inspired some young golfers, some junior players across the country.”
Now, imagine what a win might do for golf in Canada.