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Canadians on PGA Tour continue to impress

Bruce Penton takes a look at Canadian golf stars
bruce penton sports

When the PGA Tour revamped its 2023 playoff setup in the wake of the LIV-related disruption of the pro game, one of the major changes was the reduction of playoff berths from 125 to 70. Now, instead of having to be among the top .000005  per cent of the best golfers in the world, the PGA was now telling you that .000004 would be required to cut the FedEX Cup playoff mustard.

That’s why when the playoffs start this week at the FedEx St. Jude Championship in Memphis, it’s incredibly impressive that five Canadians will be in the field. Americans dominate the top 70, of course, but the five Canadians represent the third-highest number of qualifiers when countries are ranked, tied with South Korea.

It’s been a productive season for Canadians on the PGA Tour. The highlight, of course, was Nick Taylor’s triumph at the Canadian Open when he sank a 72-foot putt on the fourth playoff hole to beat England’s Tommy Fleetwood (who is among seven Brits to qualify for the playoffs, No. 2 in country rankings  behind the Americans’ 40-plus).

Taylor winning in Toronto snapped a 69-year drought for Canadians winning their national open, but Corey Conners, Adam Svensson and Mackenzie Hughes also won trophies (and huge cheques) in the 2023 season. Adam Hadwin was without a win, but he piled up enough top finishes to win $3.4 million in prize money and gain a berth in the playoffs.

It gets tougher after this week. The field of 70 will be pared to only 50, and those 50 will take part in the BMW Championship near Chicago before the field is further reduced to the top 30. That elite group will take part in the Tour Championship in Atlanta Aug. 24-27.

Kevin Blue of Golf Canada is hesitant to call this a ‘golden era’ for Canadian golf because he said that indicates it has a beginning and an end. The governing body of golf in Canada thinks this is just the beginning of a long run.

“Around six million Canadians will play 18 holes this year and we have the highest per-capita participation rate (of golf) in the world,” Blue said in a PGA story. “The quality of play on the PGA TOUR shows that Canada is increasingly represented on world-class stages as well.”

More Canadians could soon be joining Taylor, Conners and Co. on the best golf tour in the world. Manitoban Aaron Cockerill has enjoyed some solid success on the DP World Tour (career earnings of around $1.5 million Cdn so far this season) and has played three or four PGA Tour events this year. And Ben Silverman has had an outstanding season on the developmental Korn Ferry Tour and has already earned his PGA Tour card for 2024.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication. 



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