Woods, who has won each of his last five events, won this tournament in 2000, a stirring one-shot triumph over Grant Waite at Glen Abbey Golf Club. It completed an Open slam for Woods that season, one in which he won the U.S., British, and Canadian Opens.
He's not participating this year, and he's not the only past champion absent. Hal Sutton, the 1999 winner; Scott Verplank, the 2001 winner; and John Rollins, the 2002 winner, have all joined Woods this week on the sideline.
But this event is not lacking for talent.
Jim Furyk is the highest ranked player in this week's field at third in the world. He is joined by fellow U.S. Ryder Cup teammates Stewart Cink, Zach Johnson and Vaughn Taylor.
Vijay Singh, the 2004 champion, is also in attendance, as is defending champion Mark Calcavecchia. Singh is coming off a runner-up finish at the Deutsche Bank Championship. He may well be the favorite this week to capture his second Canadian Open title and his second win on TOUR this season.
The Canadian Open is the second oldest stop on the PGA TOUR and the third oldest championship in all of professional golf. First played in 1904, this will be the 97th edition of the tournament.
Its been 52 years, since Pat Fletcher in 1954, that a native won this National Open. That drought, however, could end this year.
Here are the top 5 contenders -- outside of Singh -- for the 06 title, led by Canadas favorite golfing son.
Weir almost took home top honors in 2004, only to fall in a playoff to Singh. Weir missed the cut the first nine times he played this event, but has missed only one cut over the last six years. That came last season at Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club. This years event is back at Hamilton G&CC, where he finished 10th in 2003. Weir is seeking his first win on the PGA TOUR since 2004. He played well two starts ago at the PGA Championship, where he was one back after 54 holes, but closed in 1-over 73 to finish sixth.
It will be interesting to see if Cink has stopped kicking himself over losing the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational two weeks ago. Cink had Woods dead to rights in their playoff, but missed a pair of very makeable putts that would have won it for him. Now, Cink heads north of the border still in search of his first TOUR win since he prevailed at Firestone in 2004. This will be his first start here since that same season, when he tied for fourth. He made the cut in both of his other appearances.
Tom Pernice, Jr.
Pernice has never had much success in this tournament, having missed the cut seven times in 11 career starts. Thats the bad news. The good news is that the tournament has returned to the site of his lone top-10. Pernice tied for third in 2003 at Hamilton G&CC. More good news: each of the last three winners of this event has been in their 40s. Pernice turned 47 this Tuesday.
Faxon lost in a playoff to Bob Tway the last time Hamilton G&CC hosted this event in 2003. This will be his first start in this event since then. He also has a couple of other top-10s in this tournament. This site will be much welcomed in Faxon's eyes. He is still seeking his first top-10 of the season.
Estes had a great chance two weeks ago at the Reno-Tahoe Open to earn his first TOUR title since 2002, but finished one shot back of Will MacKenzie. He gets a chance to redeem himself this week. Estes has played this tournament 10 times and has three top-10s. He was runner-up in 2001, and finished tied for 14th the last time the event was contested at Hamilton.