Rory McIlroy may have politely declined to contest this year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open but it seems there was no escaping a new PGA Tour mandate that states players who contested less than 25 tournaments a season must add a tournament they have never contested.
Hence the news that McIlroy has added the RBC Canadian Open to his schedule and it is little wonder organisers of the only Canadian event on the Tour are excited, we’ve seen the same reaction this week at the Valspar with Dustin Johnson making his debut as he only played 20 events last year.
Two years ago, McIlroy also fell short of meeting the minimum required number of Tour events and he then added the Travelers Championship.
What has also helped to attract McIlroy is that the Canadian Open has been moved from its date in the week following The Open and now will be staged from June 6 – 9), sandwiched between The Memorial (May 20 – June 2) and the U.S. Open (June 13 – 16).
The move reflects the rise in stature of the only PGA Tour event staged in Canada with the prize purse up $US 1.2m to $7.6m and it means the current World No. 4 ranked McIlroy will now play three events in succession following taking a week off post the May 19th concluding PGA Championship at Bethpage.
“It’s incredibly exciting,” said Bryan Crawford, Tournament Director for the Canadian Open. “Rory is one of the top players in the world, has been one of the top players in the world for quite some time. He’s truly one of the global ambassadors for the game.
“He’s a fan favourite everywhere and he’s certainly a fan favourite among Canadians so to have him participate in the RBC Canadian Open for the first time is fantastic.
”Golf Canada, RBC and the PGA Tour have made a special effort to raise the stature of the Canadian Open starting with the 2019 edition of the 115-year-old event.
Joining McIlroy will be fellow Ulsterman Graeme McDowell and his fellow RBC golf ambassadors Dustin Johnson, Brandt Snedeker, Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar, Canadian No. 1 Adam Hadwin and Jim Furyk, who McIlroy denied victory to last Sunday in Florida
Hopefully assisting McDowell, if he has not already qualified by then, is that the RBC Canadian Open is now of three PGA Tour qualifying tournaments for The Open.
Johnson is the tournament’s reigning champion, while Furyk won in 2006 and 2007 and Snedeker took the title in 2013