By: Shaelyn Winters
Edited By: Kylie Augis
Nick Taylor had his country rejoicing in celebration on Sunday as his Canadian Open victory solidified the end of a 69-year drought for Canadians at the tournament. The Abbotsford, British Columbia native completed the longest putt of his career – 72 feet (on four playoff holes, nonetheless) – to bring home Canada’s first win of the tournament since Pat Fletcher in 1954. He is only the ninth Canadian to see success at the 118-year-old championship and the first Canadian-born to achieve success since Karl Keffer in 1914.
What is the Canadian Open?
The Canadian Open began in 1904 and was first organized at the Royal Montreal Golf Club. Since its origination, the tournament has failed to occur on eight occasions – six of which were war-related omissions. It was also hindered in 2020-21 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The tournament is one of three competitions to comprise the Triple Crown – the other two are the British and U.S. Open. The 2023 Canadian Open occurred between June 8-11 and was played at the Oakdale Golf & Country Club in the northern region of Toronto. There were 20 Canadians to compete in this year's tournament, seven of which finished in the top 70: Nick Taylor, Adam Hadwin, Cory Connors, Roger Sloan,
Mike Weir, Taylor Pendrith and Wil Bateman.
Overview of Taylor’s Win
In round one, Taylor began the four day tournament tied for 120th with three strokes over par, bogeying his last three holes (one over on holes 16 and 17 and two over on hole 18). Under pressure of being cut on Friday, the 31-year-old birdied six holes (with one bogey) to climb the standings, finishing the day two under and tied at 47th. In a true testament of his skill, he demonstrated his capabilities by setting a course record nine under in round three to enter the final day of the tournament tied for sixth. He finished round four 17 under par, with birdies on his final two holes and one ahead for a one-shot lead. However, England’s Tommy Fleetwood, who still had three holes to play with two shots back on Taylor, birdied holes 16 and 17 and parred hole 18 to force a playoff between the two contenders.
In the playoff, the two opponents competed in back-to-back rounds on hole 18. On their first attempt, both golfers birdied the hole and were both on par on their second effort. Hoping to break the cycle of ties, the competition was sent to hole 9. This proved to be of limited success as both golfers matched one another, once again, with birdies. Finally, in a return to hole 18, Taylor completed the 500-yard hole in three to win the championship.
Taylor’s Success on the PGA Tour
This win is not only a monumental moment for Canada and an opportunity to grow the game of golf within the country, but is also immensely rewarding for Taylor himself. Having competed on the PGA Tour since the 2014-15 season, the Canadian has won two previous PGA Championships (the Sanderson Farms Championship in 2014 and the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am 2020). His highest season finish was T68 in 2015. Following his success this weekend, Taylor is now ranked 69th in the world and sits in sixth place in the FedEx Cup rankings with 1421 points.
On his success, the golfer took to Instagram to share his gratitude on Monday: “This win was for all of us, for my fellow Canadian golfers, and for the country I love. Thank you, I felt your support every step of the way. Canada, glorious and free. Words I’ll never forget.”