Furyk says he will return to defend Canadian Open title

The sound and the Furyk: The sound, much of it warm appreciation and collegiate exuberance, was aimed at a couple of Canadians. The Furyk was Jim, a persistent Pennsylvanian, who outlasted a mob who for four days had their eyes on the $900,000 payday they knew would be due on Sunday.

Jim Furyk holds his 2006 Canadian Open trophy.
(Photo: Ron Bernardo)

But Furyk’s final round 65, a five-under achievement in challenging windy conditions, ruled the day and he finished with a one-stroke victory over Bart Bryant. The 36-year-old Bryant had a 72-hole total of 266. His 14-under par effort meant Bryant, who closed with a 67, would take home $540,000 for his second place finish while Sean O’Hair (68) who was two strokes of first would pocket $340,000 for his four days of work.

And with the ink still drying on his PGA cheque, Furyk told the world he would return to next year’s Canadian Open – in Markham – to defend his crown. “It’s a tough date (but) I’ve never won a tournament and not showed up,” said Furyk. “I’ll be here, I’m going to play the Canadian Open next year.

“I’ll be honest, I probably would not have played that tournament if I had not have won. It`s a point of honour.”
Next year’s Open moves from its September slot on the PGA tour to a July date that has caused a minor controversy. The July 23-29 date places it a week after the British Open, with two other major tournaments right behind it.

The concern is that many of the Tour’s draw names may pass on the Canadian stop.

But at least Furyk intends to play it. And if between now and then he maintains the momentum he has going for himself at the moment, Open officials will be doing cartwheels. Furyk has placed in the top four in six of his last seven outings. Furyk has earned just over $6 million this golf season and that leaves him second to Tiger Woods, who passed on this event. He has won twice this year.

Brantford’s David Hearn, who plays on the Nationwide Tour, finished tied for 2Oth and that translated into USD$50,437. He was also one of the recipient’s of a loud greeting when he played the final hole.

“I went to the Canadian Open for about 10 years as a kid,” he said. “I was probably a part of that roar from the other side as a kid growing up so it felt great coming up there and knowing I had a good day under my belt.”

Ian Leggatt of Cambridge, shot a 72 to finish at even par, while Canadian Amateur champion Richard Scott struggled to a 75 to end up at 3-over.

The other park of the Cambridge Connection, Victor Ciesielski, also had a difficult finish. The 21-year-old amateur shot a 77 – his only round over par all week. He finished at 4-over.

Ciesielski drew a large gallery once again and was loudly supported until the end. Now he’ll move on to the University of Waterloo with a better idea of what it takes to play the PGA Tour. “It’s a very eye-opening experience even though I played pretty good,” said Ciesielski. “It’s not even close to where I need to be.”

But maybe next year.