Incredible Canadian Open finish is exactly what Golf fans needed after rollercoaster week

Canadian open
Nick Taylor, of Canada, kisses the trophy after winning the Canadian Open golf tournament on the fourth playoff hole against Tommy Fleetwood, of the United Kingdom, in Toronto, Sunday, June 11, 2023. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)

Incredible Canadian Open finish is exactly what Golf fans needed after rollercoaster week

This week might go down as the most controversial in the history of Golf. The PGA Tour & LIV merger blindsided the world and left fans as shocked as the players themselves. But after days of losing sight of what really makes the sport so special, Nick Taylor and Tommy Fleetwood reminded us all at a time we needed it most.

It’s easy to come away from this week exhausted as a Golf fan. The millions of dollars being thrown around in discussions, deals, potential purses, and ‘loyalty packages’ almost seem pointless to think about due to the enormity of it all. The past seven days have felt like a Football transfer window, or the opening day of NFL Free Agency. Chaotic, crazy, and almost daunting…but that’s not the sport we all fell in love.

Born in the whistling winds of Scotland hundreds of years ago, Golf is a game grounded in tradition. The legends, the moments, the thrills and spills, it’s what makes it such a beautiful game. It felt like all of that got completely lost after the PGA Tour announced its merger with LIV Golf. All that mattered was ‘how much will Rory McIlroy get for staying loyal?’ All people cared about was ‘what will happen to X Golfer or how much money will Y Golfer stand to make?’ That’s not the sport we love. But a truly special Sunday at Oakdale acted as a beautiful reminder of what really matters.

Nick Taylor, of Canada, celebrates after winning the Canadian Open golf tournament in Toronto, Sunday, June 11, 2023. (Andrew Lahodynskyj/The Canadian Press via AP)

Canadian Open

The RBC Canadian Open was a thrilling event and at various points throughout the week, it felt like we might finally see a Canadian winner at Oakdale for the first time since 1954. Adam Hadwin, Tyler Pendrith, and of course a storming Nick Taylor, all had their hats in the ring at one stage or another, and it’s the latter who the Canadian fans were able to hang their hats on.

The 35-year-old capped his sensational Sunday with a long putt on the 18th hole to give him the outright lead. He’d nervously watch on as Tommy Fleetwood started to gain ground on the back nine, also draining longer putts and having a chance to win it all on the easiest hole on the course, the par 5 18th where Taylor had just performed his heroics.

That didn’t prove to be the case, and the two headed back to the 18th tee for a playoff. The Englishman, Fleetwood, had never won on the PGA Tour despite a flurry of wins elsewhere and plenty of near-misses stateside. Taylor already had two wins to his name, but was performing in front of a roaring home crowd and looking to accomplish what no Canadian had since 1954.

Tensions rise at the Canadian Open

The playoff went on…and on…and on. Each hole was more grueling than the last, with both players wobbling and struggling to put themselves in scoring position, only to make the required recoveries to keep the playoff alive look easy. Fleetwood especially did so with a HUGE putt after sending his approach into the green 30ft past the hole, only pull off the unthinkable to keep his dream alive.

Canadian open
Tommy Fleetwood, of Southport, U.K., reacts after making his putt on the 1st playoff hole during final round golf action at the Canadian Open championship in Toronto on Sunday, June 11, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Lahodynskyj/The Canadian Press via AP)

That dream ultimately ended a couple of holes later, when Nick Taylor, on this very same hole, drained a 72-foot putt to claim the Canadian Open. The euphoria in the stands was impalpable. Taylor had not only won the Canadian Open, but he’d sunk a huge putt to even force his name into a playoff, and then sunk an even larger one to claim it after a thrilling back-and-forth exchange that had all of us on the edge of our seats.

The Candian Open couldn’t have come at a better time

The anguish for Fleetwood, the ecstasy for Taylor, and the excitement of fans everywhere could not have come at a greater time. This is what Golf is. This is why this sport is so special to so many. And after a week where it felt like the rug had been pulled and our beloved sport had fallen into darkness, all it took was a glimmer of hope and light to remind us all that this game is as remarkable as it always has been.

While the powers that be may change and the new merger may dictate a more controversial future that is bound to be filled with bumps and bruises, for one moment, none of it mattered. All that mattered was that moment. That putt. That emotion.

In a week where the Golfing world was sent into a frenzy, it was the heroics of Nick Taylor and the heart of Tommy Fleetwood that brought us right back to that familiar place. A place of love and excitement and one that makes us want to all sprint to our local course and slice some drives out of bounds.

This was Golf at its purest and Golf at its best. And that’s what we all truly needed after such a draining few days.