PGA TOUR event honored for “Best Marketing Initiative” and
“Best Tournament Sales” for 2022-23 season
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida – The RBC Canadian Open was honoured with two awards by the PGA TOUR at the TOUR’s Tournament Meetings on December 7. The RBC Canadian Open, held in 2023 at Oakdale Country Club in Toronto, earned the awards for “Best Marketing Initiative” and “Best Tournament Sales.”
This is the first time since the 2018-19 season the PGA TOUR has presented a complete roster of tournament awards, due to challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“On behalf of the PGA TOUR, I am thrilled to congratulate the RBC Canadian Open on being recognized with two ‘Best Of’ awards for the 2022-23 PGA TOUR Season,” said PGA TOUR Chief Competitions Officer Tyler Dennis. “After several years of challenges related to the pandemic and its impacts on event operations, I’m pleased we are able to once again celebrate the incredible work all PGA TOUR tournaments have accomplished to elevate the experience for players and fans. Our award winners should be extremely proud to be recognized as top among their peers on TOUR.”
The award for “Best Marketing Initiative” recognizes the tournament that best develops and executes a marketing campaign designed to increase ticket sales and attendance.
The RBC Canadian Open carried forward the momentum from its record-breaking year in 2022 with their 2023 campaign, “Summer’s Open.” The initiative positioned the RBC Canadian Open as not only a premier professional sporting event, but a diverse entertainment experience that offers value to golf fans and non-golf fans alike. The campaign had four key objectives: build excitement among golf fans leveraging Rory McIlroy’s potential three-peat (including a first-ever championship ring); generate buzz among casual Canadian sports fans by using Canadian TOUR players to tease potential historic win; profile breadth of entertainment offerings to drive purchase intent among attendees that are not sports fans; and capitalize on key viral moments in golf to drive reach.
“Best Tournament Sales” evaluates current year contracted sales across Sales Support Initiative categories (pro-am, hospitality, and sponsorship/advertising) compared to previous year overall performance and is equally weighted based on year-over-year growth by percentage and dollars.
Canada’s national open had its best sales year to date in 2023 and grew tremendously year-over-year, thanks to the incredible support from the people and business community of Toronto. Significant hospitality product was added to keep up with generated demand, with Golf Canada building over 200,000 square feet of hospitality along the Oakdale property, including a new double-decker structure for the first time. On the golf course, 11 viewing decks and bleachers were spread out across the property and there were over 50 activations for fans to engage in. Corporate hospitality and the pro-am was completely sold out.
New in 2023, the team launched the Gallery Fast Pass, a premium ticket offering that allowed fans to purchase preferred reserved viewing areas. Gallery Fast Pass ticket holders save time with access to the premium hospitality gate, expedited concessions and the premium 1904 Club viewing structure.
The RBC Canadian Open continues to boast some of the most unique and robust sponsorship activations on the PGA TOUR, anchored by “The Rink.” “The Rink” was back on Oakdale’s 14th hole and was completely enclosed for the first time. A fan experience combining Canada’s most popular pastimes – golf and hockey – “The Rink” earned the TOUR award for “Best in Class Element” in 2018. The area is modeled after an ice hockey rink, complete with hockey boards lining the hole, upgraded bleachers, and viewing decks, while featuring volunteer gallery management dressed as referees.
“We are honoured to receive both PGA TOUR awards in recognition for the success of the 2023 RBC Canadian Open. A sincere thank you as well to the membership at Oakdale Golf and Country Club for their significant support in getting behind the tournament in a major way,” said RBC Canadian Open Tournament Director Bryan Crawford. “We are extremely appreciative of RBC and our incredible network of partners along with the agency support of Wasserman and others for their continued elevation of the RBC Canadian Open into a true festival experience with innovative fan activations such as Hilton on the Green, The ScoreBet Hole Zero, Audi Performance Lab, The Fare Way featuring the Keg and so many more. Congratulations to all the award winners, and we look forward to hosting another great RBC Canadian Open in 2024 at the Hamilton Golf and Country Club.”
The 2024 RBC Canadian Open, won this year by Canadian Nick Taylor, returns to Hamilton Golf & Country Club in Hamilton, Ontario, May 27-June 2.
(December 1, 2023) – In celebration of Nick Taylor’s historic victory in becoming the first Canadian to win Canada’s National Men’s Open Championship in 69 years, Golf Canada in partnership with title sponsor RBC, have reimagined the tournament logo for the 2024 RBC Canadian Open at Hamilton Golf & Country Club in celebrating one of the most iconic moments in Canadian sport.
The updated brand identity depicts a silhouette of Taylor’s now legendary putter toss following his 72-foot eagle putt on the fourth playoff hole at Oakdale Golf and Country Club to defeat Tommy Fleetwood and become the first Canadian in seven decades to win Canada’s National Men’s Open Championship.
“We are excited to pay tribute to the epic performance of Nick’s amazing win by capturing the energy of that moment within the brand identity and logo mark for the 2024 RBC Canadian Open,” said Golf Canada Chief Marketing Officer Tim McLaughlin. “Nick’s historic victory will be celebrated in the lead up to and throughout the 2024 RBC Canadian Open and the reimagined logo is a fitting homage to both Nick and this most special moment for our National Open.”
“To be a part of the 2024 RBC Canadian Open logo is really special,” said Taylor. “When I first saw the re-design with myself as the swing man, I was flattered by the tribute and thought it was very cool. I am excited to get to Hamilton and looking forward to defending my title.”
The updated brand mark for the 2024 RBC Canadian Open will feature prominently across integrated marketing activities and physical touch points in the lead up to Taylor’s title defence at Hamilton Golf and Country Club.
The 2024 RBC Canadian Open takes place May 28 – June 2 at the Hamilton Golf and Country Club in Hamilton, Ont., the 113th playing of Canada’s National Men’s Open Championship.
Select tickets for the 2024 RBC Canadian Open will be available starting December 7, 2023.
PONTE VEDRE – The PGA TOUR has released its nominees for their 2022-23 PGA TOUR Tournament Awards, with the 2023 RBC Canadian Open picking up four nominations.
In June, Nick Taylor became the first Canadian in 69 years to win his national open, holing a 72-foot eagle putt on the fourth playoff hole to beat Tommy Fleetwood at Oakdale Golf and Country Club in Toronto.
“We are honoured and humbled to be nominated for these prestigious awards by the PGA TOUR,” said Bryan Crawford, RBC Canadian Open tournament director. “It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team, including staff, partners, fans and volunteers, who are committed to delivering excellence in everything we do. This is a moment of pride for us, and we are grateful to be recognized in this way.”
The 2023 RBC Canadian Open picked up nominations in the following four categories:
- Best Marketing Initiative: Criteria include the development and execution of a marketing campaign designed to increase ticket sales and attendance.
- Most Engaged Community: Attendance, volunteer support, year-round community involvement, new community engagement program, media participation, community woven in to the “fabric” of the tournament and charity partners.
- Best Special Event: Development of an actionable plan with clear objectives, creative elements and measurable results which drove attendance, social media attention, local PR, ticket sales, charity donations or media value. Examples: luncheon, special dinner, concert/concert series, 5K run, sales event, celebrity shootout, etc.)
- Sustainability Award: Designed to recognize engagement in sustainability and commitment to reducing the tournament’s environmental impact, which will help protect the game for future generations.
Winners will be announced at the 2023 PGA TOUR Tournament Awards Celebration, which take place Thursday, December 7 in La Quinta, CA.
The 2024 RBC Canadian Open will be held May 28 – June 4 at Hamilton Golf and Country Club.
TORONTO – Nick Taylor became the first Canadian in 69 years to win his national open, holing a 72-foot eagle putt on the fourth playoff hole to beat Tommy Fleetwood in the RBC Canadian Open on Sunday.
Taylor tossed his putter into the air and jumped into the arms of his caddie after the longest made putt of his PGA Tour career, and fellow Canadian players Mike Weir, Corey Conners and Adam Hadwin were among those who ran onto the green to congratulate him. Hadwin, Taylor’s close friend, was tackled by a security guard while spraying champagne from a bottle.
“I’m speechless. This is for all the guys that are here. This is for my family at home,” Taylor said with tears in his eyes. “This is the most incredible feeling.”
The last player from Canada to win the Canadian Open was Pat Fletcher in 1954 at Point Grey in Vancouver. Fletcher was born in England; Carl Keffer had been the only Canadian-born champion, winning in 1909 and 1914. Weir lost a playoff to Vijay Singh in 2004.
With galleries cheering his every move and even serenading him with “O Canada” on one tee box, Taylor curled in an 11-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to finish at 17-under 271 at Oakdale, walking backwards with his fist raised as the ball dropped into the cup. He shot a 6-under 66 on Sunday.
Fleetwood needed a birdie on the reachable par 5 to win in regulation, but he missed his tee shot right, laid up into an awkward lie in the right rough and two-putted for par to force the playoff in rainy conditions.
The players traded birdies on their first time playing No. 18 in the playoff. They both parred 18 and the par-3 ninth before heading back to 18.
Taylor’s tee shot found a divot in the fairway, but he hit his second shot 221 yards to the front of the green, while Fleetwood laid up after his drive found a fairway bunker. Fleetwood hit his third shot to 12 feet, but didn’t need to putt after Taylor’s uphill eagle putt hit the flagstick and dropped.
Fans swarmed toward the green, and Hadwin who like Taylor grew up in Abbotsford, British Columbia got leveled amid the chaos. He said had so much adrenaline that the tackle didn’t faze him.
“It’s incredible. I mean, what do you say to one of the greatest moments of Canadian golf history?” Hadwin said. “I think we all predicted that this was going to happen.
“I’m not sure that any one of us predicted a 72-foot (eagle) putt … to get it done, but what a way to go.”
The 35-year-old Taylor, who was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, won for the third time on the PGA Tour. He shot 75 in Thursday’s opening round but rallied with a 67 on Friday to make the cut, then shot 63 on Saturday to begin the final round three shots behind leader C.T. Pan.
Two-time defending champion Rory McIlroy, two shots back of Pan entering the final round, closed with a 72 and finished in a tie for ninth, five shots back.
Fleetwood, a two-time Ryder Cup player from England and a six-time winner on the European tour, remains winless on the PGA Tour.
“I played great today, even though I missed some chances, if you like, on those playoff holes,” Fleetwood said. “Yeah, it was close. I just have to take the positives from it and start practicing tomorrow. I got a major next week. So can’t dwell on it too much.”
Tyrrell Hatton (64), Aaron Rai (69) and Pan (70) finished one shot out of the playoff.
Back-to-back birdies to close out the third round put C.T. Pan two strokes up on the field at the RBC Canadian Open, but that lead is far from safe with a pack of big names and two Canadians in the hunt.
Pan, from Taiwan, shot a 6-under 66 to sit at 14-under overall on Saturday at Oakdale Golf and Country Club in the northwest corner of Toronto. Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy was in a six-way tie for second as he looks for a third consecutive title at the men’s national golf championship.
“You still have to play aggressive, because this course is a lot of rough, but if you hit it in the fairway you will have a lot of short irons in and you’re going to create a lot of birdie opportunities,” said Pan, adding that he won’t change too much as he tries to fend off the group tied for second that includes McIlroy, Americans Mark Hubbard, Harry Higgs, and Andrew Novak, as well as England’s Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if someone shoots 8-, 9-under, because the PGA Tour guys are really good.”
Nick Taylor, from Abbotsford, B.C., did just that earlier Saturday, firing a 9-under 63 to set a new course record at Oakdale Golf and Country Club. That round rocketed Taylor up the leaderboard to sit in a tie with England’s Aaron Rai at 11-under, good for eighth.
Taylor surpassed the record of 8-under that England’s Tyrrell Hatton matched in Friday’s second round. Oakdale actually has 27 holes on its property and is using a composite course for the PGA Tour event.
Canadian Golf Hall of Famer George Knudson, who won on the PGA Tour eight times in the 1960s and ’70s, was a regular at Oakdale and has nine of the holes at the 98-year-old course named after him.
“To have a course record is really cool,” said Taylor. “I don’t think I have one out here on Tour.
“To do it at the RBC Canadian Open is even more special and to be mentioned in the same breath as George Knudson is phenomenal.”
Corey Conners (70) of Listowel, Ont., rounded out the top 10 at 10-under overall. He and Taylor agreed that they’d be happy with either one of them winning the Canadian Open and end a nearly 70-year drought for Canadians at the event.
“I think we’re rooting for each other, but we still want to win,” said Taylor, who regularly practices with Conners ahead of PGA Tour events. “If we don’t win, I think we want another Canadian to win.
“If I look up and I’m second and Corey Conners is first then that’s almost as good as winning.”
Pat Fletcher won at Vancouver’s Point Grey Golf and Country Club in 1954. Although there have been some close calls in the past 20 years, this year’s edition of the tournament holds a great deal of promise as eight Canadians, the most since 2002, made the cut.
“It’s been far too long,” said Conners. “I’m going to be letting it fly, giving it my all tomorrow and I’m sure (Taylor’s) going to be doing the same thing.
“I’ve got some ground to make up, but you never know. We have a chance.”
McIlroy won in 2019 at Hamilton Golf and Country Club and again last year at St. George’s Golf and Country Club. The event was canceled in the intervening years because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It feels eerily similar to the last two tournaments,” said McIlroy. “I was tied for the lead with (Webb Simpson) at Hamilton in 2019. Then last year with (Tony Finau and Justin Thomas).
“Looks like there could be a lot of guys up around the lead tomorrow. So it’s going to be a really interesting day.”
Chants of “Corrr-ayyyy! Cor-ay! Cor-ay! Cor-ay!” to the tune of the famous “Ole!” soccer song followed Corey Conners up to the 18th green during the second round of the RBC Canadian Open.
The product of Listowel, Ont., responded well to the chants from hundreds of fans. He two-putted on the challenging green at Oakdale Golf and Country Club to pull within a shot of the lead at the men’s national golf championship.
“Lots of chants out there, but definitely that one was new,” said Conners with a chuckle. “I’m really embracing the Canadian support.”
Conners shot a 3-under 69 on Friday to sit in a tie for second with Taiwan’s C.T. Pan, England’s Aaron Rai and Tyrrell Hatton at 8-under overall.
China’s Carl Yuan turned in a 5-under round to sit atop the leaderboard one shot ahead of that group.
“Really happy with the start,” said Conners who was tied for the lead after the first round. “It’s been a lot of fun out here this week.
“Fun playing in front of the Canadian fans. Just enjoying the walk out there.”
Yuan said after his round in the morning wave that his goal is always to have fun out on the course.
“That’s my goal coming into the week. That’s my No. 1 goal,” said Yuan of keeping it light. “Not a result goal, just being in the present, hitting shot by shot and, yeah, being out here trying to have the most fun. All of it.”
Conners was in the mix at the PGA Championship in late May and tied for 12th. He said his cool demeanour paid off there and is also keeping him focused at the Canadian Open, which most Canadian players consider a fifth major.
“I would say this week I’ve been a lot more relaxed than even I was there and I felt like I was quite relaxed at the PGA Championship,” he said. “So I’m feeling good about my game and able to play with freedom and confidence. I’m just having a lot of fun.”
It has been almost 70 years since a Canadian last won the men’s national golf championship. Pat Fletcher won in 1954 at Vancouver’s Point Grey Golf and Country Club.
Although Conners is in the best position to end that drought, he’s far from the only Canadian in the hunt as eight of his countrymen made the cut.
Adam Hadwin (68) of Abbotsford, B.C., and Rogers Sloan (70) of Merritt, B.C., were tied for 17th at 5 under.
Edmonton’s Wil Bateman, playing in his first-ever Canadian Open and only his second PGA Tour event, rocketed up the leaderboard with a 6-under round. That put Bateman at 4-under overall and tied for 22nd.
“When they bring out the cameras and the little fuzzy little mic you know you’re doing something right,” joked Bateman. “But I just tried to just stay in the moment. I’m just really excited for the weekend.”
After two days of air quality advisories due to forest fires raging in Ontario and Quebec, steady rain cleared the air at Oakdale in Toronto’s northwest corner. Between the lack of sunlight and cold rain, the temperature didn’t go above 17 degrees Celsius.
“I think this is right up my alley,” said Yuan, who was born in Dalian, China. “I went to school in Seattle at the University of Washington.
“That’s exactly what we deal with in the wintertime.”
Conners said that the course’s conditions have been great, although with a 9-under overall score topping the leaderboard it’s clear that Oakdale is proving to be a challenge.
“I feel like the golf course and the greens have sped up and the rough has continued to grow and become thicker from when I saw it a few weeks ago,” said Conners. “Also just tournament conditions, it’s playing a little trickier but there’s definitely some opportunities.`”If the weather stays nice I think that you can shoot some good numbers this weekend.”
Being at the RBC Canadian Open every year is always a thrill. And for one night in 2023 I was lucky enough to have the shortest commute of anyone who attended the tournament – since I was staying overnight on the course.
The Hilton on the Green one-bedroom pop-up hotel room activation from last year was brought back again in 2023 with plenty of updates. Having seen the hotel at both the RBC Canadian Open and the CPKC Women’s Open last year, I was thrilled at the opportunity to spend a night in that very special spot!
Located just behind the fifth green at Oakdale Golf and Country Club, the Hilton on the Green pop up (which actually won Best Sponsor Activation in November at the LPGA Tour’s year-end meetings) features so many great touches from various Hilton properties around the world.
As Wednesday’s pro-am began to finish up, I made my way over to the fifth hole just in time for the golden-hour sunshine to kiss the front stoop of my room for the night. It’s a quaint and welcome atmosphere, with a goodie bag of special items sitting on the well-appointed mattress along with a robe – which I absolutely made use of both at nighttime and the next morning.
The mattress and the Frette linens were both from the Waldorf Astoria, and let’s just say that combination made for an elite snooze. The first thing that caught my eye as a feature was the Theragun and Therabody Wave Roller. I didn’t realize that nearly 50 percent of travellers say they prioritize physical wellness, so those two products are available at about a half-dozen various Hilton properties. After a long day of being hunched over a computer and walking 15,000 steps covering the best golfers in the world, a little session with my muscles got me feeling loose and relaxed for a quiet evening.
But first – the cookies. A full tin of the iconic DoubleTree chocolate-chunk cookies was waiting for me upon arrival and you better believe I tucked into one while watching the final on-course efforts happen right in front of me!
After an excellent sleep the maintenance crew had returned. It was Thursday morning, after all, and the RBC Canadian Open was nearly underway. I enjoyed a coffee via the in-room Nespresso machine (in my robe, of course!) while standing on the deck, taking in the glorious first-round morning.
Before long, breakfast had been delivered and it was time to shower, where I got to use some incredibly pleasant-smelling bath products (grapefruit, I think!) via Tempo by Hilton.
My overnight stay had come to its close, and all I needed to do was walk back to the media centre to begin my day.
After spending the night in it, it was no surprise to see why the Hilton on the Green was such a fun, award-winning pop up. The little touches were great, and now I can’t wait to experience them in a real Hilton property some time soon!
TORONTO – It’s been 20 years since Mike Weir won the Masters, and now Canada is seeing the influence that victory had – with more Canadians playing at a high level on the PGA TOUR than ever before.
But one thing that continues to elude the best from Canada – including Weir himself – is a victory at the RBC Canadian Open. The last Canadian to win the country’s national open was Pat Fletcher in 1954.
Through 18 holes, however, Corey Conners is trending towards breaking the long-standing drought.
Conners shot a 5-under 67 to open things at Oakdale Golf and Country Club, and through the first round he sits in a four-way tie for the lead with Aaron Rai, Justin Lower and Chesson Hadley.
The last Canadian to lead the RBC Canadian Open after the first round was Weir in 2008, and the last Canadian to lead the championship after any round was David Hearn, who had the 54-hole lead in 2015.
Conners, who finished sixth at last year’s RBC Canadian Open, was not able to speak to media after his round because he had to deal with an urgent personal matter.
His caddie, Danny Sahl, said that Conners’ success came from being strong all around and especially disciplined off the tee. Conners hasn’t made a bogey at the RBC Canadian Open in 51 holes, dating back to last year.
Conners was first in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and fourth in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee after the first round. Sahl said there’s an easy comparison between Oakdale and Oak Hill Country Club, the host of this year’s PGA Championship where Conners played in Sunday’s penultimate pairing.
“It’s the same mentality that he brought over from (Oak Hill), and he knows that’s what it’s going to take to play well,” Sahl said. “Just get it in the fairway and we were aggressive on a couple of holes. He’s seeing his spots and keeping it really simple.”
Weir also had the first-round lead at the RBC Canadian Open in 2004 and came agonizingly close to winning the event – eventually losing in a playoff to Vijay Singh. He knows as much as anyone what it’s going to take to keep the pedal down over the next three days.
“I think (Conners is) experienced enough to know that we’re so early and that it doesn’t really mean much yet,” Weir said. “I know he just wants to, I’m sure, keep doing what he’s doing. I was watching a little on TV this morning and he looked like he was just playing Corey Conners golf. I saw solid play and nice ball striking, and that’s a good recipe around here.
“It’s pretty demanding off the tee. If you miss the fairways you’re in trouble, so if you can keep driving it good, he’ll be in good shape.”
Conners is one of three Canadians to have won on the PGA TOUR this season, with Mackenzie Hughes and Adam Svensson being the others.
Hughes made four birdies on his back nine Thursday to finish at 3 under. Taylor Pendrith and Roger Sloan also got it to 3 under after the first round.
Weir, in his 30th RBC Canadian Open start, shot an even-par 72.
Hughes, who went to Kent State University with both Pendrith and Conners, said with golf in Canada continuing to increase its momentum, having a Canadian with a chance to win on Sunday would be huge.
“We’ve got a few guys up there, kind of close, and hopefully one of us can keep it going all the way to Sunday,” Hughes said.