As the PGA Tour makes the annual stop in Canada, Nike Golf has strong ties to the Canadian Open and the country. I’ll highlight the two Canadian Nike Golf athletes (Stephen Ames and the recently signed Matt Hill) and then provide an overview of how Nike Golfers have fared at the Canadian Open.
Canadian Nike Golfers
What I love about Ames and Hill is how different they are. Ames is 40+ and a four-time winner on tour who grew up playing amateur golf in Trinidad and Tobago, while Hill is a born-and-raised Canadian who dominated as a Canadian amateur who just recently turned professional.
Ames wasn’t born or raised in Canada. He holds a dual citizenship between Trinidad and Tobago and Canada, but I think most of us in Canada are happy to call him Canadian. For many years, it was just Ames and Weir who represented Canadian golf and Ames didn’t mind that one bit. Ames has 4 PGA tour wins, most notably the 2006 Players Championship.
Ames has been ranked as high as 24th in the World in 2008 and currently sits as the highest Canadian in the World Golf Rankings at 77. Ames has been steady on the Tour making at least $2 million in each of the past 4 PGA seasons. This season, Ames has played in 14 events, made 11 cuts and has 6 top 10’s. He also finished as the Top Canadian as last year’s Canadian Open.
The collegiate career of Matt Hill is well documented. He was also the #1 Amateur in the World last year (and his fellow Canadian Nick Taylor was #2). He was also named the Division I Collegiate Golfer of 2009. The kid has all kinds of potential. What’s even more astounding is that he’s from the exact same hometown of Mike Weir. Bright’s Grove, Ontario is where they call home. He’s the future of Canadian golf and there’s a lot of young Canadians also making an impact in the golf world (see, Graham DeLaet and Chris Baryla). However, I think Matt Hill and Nick Taylor are the next big things.
Since turning pro at The Memorial tournament, Hill has struggled a bit but finished T50 at the Reno-Tahoe Open and also a T36 in the Nationwide Tour’s stop in Canada. He’s playing on exemptions at the moment and will go to Q-School in the fall to try and lock up his tour card for next year.
The Canadian Open
As far as I’m concerned, in the modern age, this is Anthony Kim’s event. RBC is one of his main sponsors and he’s played twice and finished T8 in ’08 and T3 in ’09. We all thought his comeback would be this week, but he’s going to need a bit more time. However, Ames has also had good finishes at this event, as a home-country favourite. Tiger won this event in 2000 with Nike and I think Casey, Hill and Ames all have great chances to capture a win this week. Here are the Nike staffers playing in the event this week;
- Stephen Ames
- Paul Casey
- David Duval
- Matt Hill
- Trevor Immelman
- Carl Pettersson
Best of luck to all the athletes this week!