CALGARY, Alberta – Canyon Meadows is a hit with the Champions Tour players – and they'll have to hit it straight to have any chance of winning the inaugural Shaw Charity Classic.
''Canyon Meadows is old style, tree-lined,'' Mark O'Meara said. ''Better hit it straight just because the pines are there and they hang all the way down to the ground so it's going to be very important to be accurate off the tee. If you keep the ball in play you can be a little more aggressive.''
The 54-hole event begins Friday on the course that opened in 1957.
''It's a beautiful course. It's in great shape,'' Fred Couples said. ''I have no feel on how hard it is yet, but it was hard for me today. I was in the trees a few times. It's a really nice layout. The back nine is kind of fun with three of everything. The par 5s are right there, if you hit a good drive, obviously, for me I can reach most of them, so it's a nice layout. It's got some short holes, got a few 470 par 4s that don't play that long but are some good holes.''
The 50-and-over tour has made two previous stops in Calgary. Don January won the 1983 Peter Jackson Champions at Earl Grey, and Brian Barnes won the 1998 AT&T Canada Senior Open at Glencoe.
''I think one thing that has stood out in all my tournaments is the people and how gracious everyone is here, whether it be in Montreal, Toronto area, now Calgary, everyone's been so friendly and down to earth,'' Jay Haas said.
Straight-hitting Nick Price is comfortable on the layout.
''I said earlier to a couple of guys this is probably very similar to courses that most of us in our generation grew up playing,'' Price said. ''It's old school, right there in front of you. A premium on accuracy this week. You need to drive the ball very straight here.''
Fred Funk also hopes the tight course plays to his advantage.
''It's a good course for me if I'm playing well because you've got to drive it straight and I'm a pretty straight hitter,'' he said. ''We'll just see how it all plays out. You've just got to get a hot flat stick.''
The tour will remain in Canada next week for the Montreal Championship.