Last Updated on Sunday, 26 July 2009 16:03 Sunday, 26 July 2009 15:45
OAKVILLE, Ont. - As the unofficial host of the RBC Canadian Open, it only seems fitting that Mike Weir buy the rest of the field a drink. He might want one for himself, too.
The popular lefty made a dramatic hole-in-one on Sunday morning before losing ground to leader Jason Dufner while sitting out a delay, and yet another day of rain pushed the tournament to its first Monday finish in more than two decades.
Weir aced the 200-yard fourth hole with a four-iron and was a popular man in the locker-room once the rain chased everyone back into the clubhouse.
Several players took the opportunity to remind him that he was on the hook for a round. Weir was in no position to object. "It's good drinking weather right now," he said.
Play was called Sunday before any of the golfers could even finish his third round, forcing everyone back for a 7:30 a.m. start on Monday morning. The plan is to try and squeeze in the rest of the event in one day.
"If we don't think we can get it in (tomorrow), we'll reassess it then," said tournament director Bill Paul. "Our goal is to get in 72 holes."
The last time a Canadian Open finished on a Monday was in 1988, when Ken Green registered a one-shot victory in what Paul referred to as an "anti-climactic" ending because there were so few people around to see it.
There's the potential for things to be a little more exciting this time around with plenty of interesting names lingering on the leaderboard.
Dufner finished six holes of his third round on Sunday and sits at 14 under for the tournament - one shot ahead of Anthony Kim and Jerry Kelly.
Retief Goosen, Scott Verplank, Bob Estes, Michael Letzig and Peter Tomasulo were another stroke back.
Weir was four shots behind Dufner when the horn sounded to halt play Sunday morning. However, during the delay he was asked by the rules committee to go back over video from the end of his round on Saturday and ended up taking a one-shot penalty as a result.
Weir signed for a birdie at No. 18 and a second-round 66 on Saturday following a lengthy delay in which the rules committee reviewed tape and found that he hadn't grounded his club prior to having the ball move in the fairway.
However, the committee reopened the incident Sunday and was unable to account for what caused his ball to move - a grey area in the rules that tends to go against the player. As a result, Weir asked to have the penalty assessed and fell five shots back of Dufner.
"Even though I don't think I (caused the ball to move), I guess there's that grey area," said Weir. "Possibly I could have. So with that, I didn't feel comfortable myself not taking (a penalty)."
It was just one more strange occurrence during an event that has been full of them.
While the rain has been a dominant storyline after causing several long delays, there have also been a number of weird things happen on the golf course.
For example, there have been an amazing seven holes-in-one at the event - two more than any other since the PGA Tour started keeping detailed statistics in 1971. "It's been a crazy week," said Weir. "Look at all this. I mean this is bizarre."
The tournament remains wide open, especially if some good weather Monday allows the players to complete all 72 holes. Twenty guys sit within five shots of the lead.
A week full of stops and starts has put more of a premium on patience than ball-striking. "None of the players can control what's going on," said Dufner, after his first PGA Tour victory. "So I think everybody wants to get out there and play and compete and try to win this golf tournament."
It's almost certain that the US$5.1-million event will crown its champion on the fifth day of play. The only way it could stretch to Tuesday is if more than half of the field completes its fourth round Monday, but not everyone gets it in. This marks the second straight year that rain has turned Glen Abbey in a soggy stew.
Even though the event is already in a tough spot directly after the British Open and has attracted just six of the top 30 players this week, Paul isn't concerned that the bad weather will have a negative carryover to next year - especially because the 2010 event will be played at St. George's Golf and Country Club in Toronto for the first time since 1968.
"I think peoples' memories are short-lived," said Paul. "It'll be combatted with going to a great golf course. For everyone that's (complained about the weather), I've had more that have said, 'I hear the course next year is unbelievable.' "I think they'll go home and in a week's time Canada will be a distant memory as far as the tournament goes."
At least one played in the field agreed with that assessment. "I think the buzz on the golf course is going to get probably even a better field than this year," said Kelly.
Notes: Monday's round will be broadcast on TSN and The Golf Channel from 2:30-4:30 p.m. ET ... On Sunday, Calgary's Stephen Ames was 1-over through 10 holes, Graham DeLaet of Weyburn, Sask., was 1-under through 11 and Chris Baryla of Vernon, B.C., was 3-under through six ... American Steve Marino withdrew during the rain delay ... ... Verplank finished one shot behind Green at the 1988 Canadian Open.