- Canadian Open
The Canadian Open was first played in 1904, nine years after the Canadian Amateur Championship had been established. A co-organized event by Golf Canada (previously known as the Royal Canadian Golf Association) and the PGA Tour, it’s one of the oldest running tournaments on the professional circuit in North America. The inaugural Open was won by the English-born professional at Royal Ottawa, Jack Oke, who outscored nine other professionals and seven amateurs in the 36-hole contest.
Royal Montreal Golf Club, founded in 1873, is the oldest golfing society in North America so it was fitting that the first Canadian Open championship should be hosted at the club’s former location in Dorval. Another four Opens would be held there before the club moved to its present site, where a further five editions have since been contested between 1975 and 2014.
Early winners of this stroke play competition – including James Douglas Edgar who won by a record margin of 16 shots at Hamilton in 1919 – were presented with a gold medal but the Rivermead Cup was introduced when the event was held at Rivermead Golf Club in 1920. New sponsors then presented new trophies: first The Seagram Gold Cup in 1936, followed by The Du Maurier Trophy in 1971.
In 1994, with tobacco companies no longer in favour, the RCGA commissioned a new sterling silver trophy with a map of Canada etched onto the top dome, emblematic maple leaves cupping the bowl and enamelled flags of the various provinces and territories positioned around the circumference of the dome. The base of Canadian maple is inscribed with the names of all the former champions.
Leo Diegel has won most Opens, claiming four titles between 1924 and 1929. Three golfers have each won the event on three occasions: Tommy Armour (1927, 1930, 1934), Sam Snead (1938, 1940, 1941) and Lee Trevino (1971, 1977, 1979). Trevino’s last win saw him become the first to capture the triple crown of The Open, US Open and Canadian Open in the same year. Tiger Woods then emulated this feat twenty-nine years later.
Interestingly, Jack Nicklaus never managed to get his named etched on the winner’s trophy (he was runner-up seven times) and Doug Sanders in 1956 is the lone amateur so far to claim the title. To the disappointment of home supporters, there have been only five native champions: George Cumming (1905), Charlie Murray (1906, 1911), Albert Murray (1908, 1913), Karl Keffer (1909, 1914) and Pat Fletcher (1954).
All but nine of the Canadian Opens have been held in Ontario or Quebec. For those played in other provinces, Riverside in New Brunswick was the venue in 1939, St Charles and Niakwa in Manitoba hosted in 1952 and 1961, while Royal Mayfair staged the 1948 event in Alberta. Shaughnessy (1948, 1966, 2005, 2011) and Point Grey (1954) have hosted the tournament in British Columbia.
Glen Abbey in Oakville has hosted 30 Open Championships, all of them in the modern era, starting in 1977. Also in Ontario, Mississagua (1931-1974) and Hamilton (1919-2019) have each helped to arrange six tournaments, with the golf courses at Toronto (1905-1927) and St George’s (1933-2010) each used for Open competition on five occasions.
Five courses that hosted the Canadian Open are not listed below. The first one is the original layout at Toronto (1905-1909) as the club has since moved to a new location. The same applies to Royal Montreal’s initial layout (1904-1950) and Summerlea in Montreal (1935). The other two courses belong to clubs that no longer exist, namely St Andrews Club in Toronto (1936, 1937) and Montreal Municipal (1967) which closed in 1976 for the Olympic Games then the layout was integrated into the city’s park network.
Canadian Open Top 100 Leaderboard
B-NL Challenge Trophy