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Canadian Open prepares for pre-U.S. Open move

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This is the final year that the RBC Canadian Open will be sandwiched between the Open Championship and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

Next year, with the PGA Tour dramatically reshaping its schedule, the Canadian Open will shift to the week prior to the U.S. Open. The event will also move away from Glen Abbey and be staged at Hamilton (Ontario) Golf & Country Club, on June 6-9.

The Tour’s stop in Memphis has traditionally been a U.S. Open warm-up, but that event is transitioning into a WGC to be held in late July.

So Canada’s move into the U.S. Open leadoff spot will make for an interesting choice, especially for those – such as world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and six-time U.S. Open runner-up Phil Mickelson – who like to play their way into form before a major. About 2,700 miles separate Hamilton, Ontario, and Pebble Beach, Calif.

Full-field tee times from RBC Canadian Open

RBC Canadian Open: Articles, photos and videos

“I like playing the week before,” reigning U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka told reporters Wednesday at Glen Abbey. “I think it’s good prep to know where your game is at. The only problem is you’re going East Coast to West Coast, and then back to the East Coast [for the Travelers Championship]. So you might see some guys not play, just for the fact that they’re playing the week after. But if you’re not playing the week after, I don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t be here.”

Added two-time defending champion Jhonattan Vegas: “I’ve been talking to a lot of Canadians, and they seem to like that date even better because the weather tends to be a little better, a little cooler. I think it’s going to be great for the tournament, right before the U.S. Open, so a lot of guys are going to come to get ready to play the U.S. Open.”

Played the week after the year’s third major, the Canadian Open typically struggles to produce a strong field outside of its brand ambassadors, a group that includes Johnson, who is playing this event for the sixth time.

“I think it’ll be good for the golf tournament,” Johnson said. “A lot of guys like to play the week before the U.S. Open, so you’ll definitely get some different guys, and I think the field will definitely improve, even though this year I feel like we have a really good field here at the RBC. I think the date move is good, and I think the field will get stronger.”