When Pat Fletcher won the Canadian Open in 1954 it wouldn’t have been expected that well over 20 years into the 21st century, Canada would still be waiting to see one of their own raise the coveted trophy again.
And this drought isn’t down to a lack of top-quality Canadian golfers, or from a lack of interest in the sport from Canadians in general. Canadians love the sport of golf, and over the years the nation has produced some superb performers on the world stage.
Can Corey Conners end the drought for Canada?
The nation’s current top-ranked man is Corey Conners. As of now there are no odds available to win the 2023 Canadian Open, but Conners is 16/1 with Bet365 Canada to win any golf major in 2023. Conners is arguably Canada’s best golfer currently playing, and is a contender with the bookmakers to win the big competitions in 2023.
Unfortunately for both Conners and Fletcher, neither make our list of the top three Canadian golfers in history. Conners still has the chance to change that, but for now, he misses out. No doubt Canadian golf fans will have their own views and may well disagree. After all, our views are all subjective.
We’re starting with possibly the most controversial call of the three, but for reasons of maybe nostalgia, and definitely legend, Norman makes our list.
Moe Norman wasn’t the most successful golfer to come out of Canada, but he was the purest of pure ball strikers. Tiger Woods is quoted as stating that Norman (along with Ben Hogan) were the only golfers to ever truly own their own swings – high praise from one of the best golfers to ever swing a club.
Moe Norman has been inducted into both the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame (1995), and Canada’s Sport Hall of Fame (2006). He wasn’t successful on the PGA Tour in terms of wins, and his career was brief. But the guy is a true Canadian legend, and although he is a subjective call, we think he qualifies as one of Canada’s greatest-ever golfers.
The chances are by the end of her career, Brooke Henderson will be regarded as the best Canadian golfer of all time. She already has won way over ten times on the LPGA Tour, making her the most successful Canadian golfer ever (including the PGA and LPGA) with regards to tour wins.
To date, Henderson has won two major championships, the 2016 Women’s PGA Championship, and the 2022 Evian Championship. She looks almost certain to add to that total before the end of her career. She also won the CP Open in 2018, becoming the first home winner of an event in Canada since 1973.
Henderson won her first LPGA Tour event in 2015, and she was named Canada’s Female Athlete of the Year in both 2017 and 2018. And the scary thing is, she is just at the start of her career.
By far the most successful men’s Canadian golfer of all time is Mike Weir. Weir won the 2003 Masters at the age of 32, beating Len Mattiace in a one-hole playoff. In doing so, Weir became the first Canadian to win any golf major, and probably more remarkably, the first left-hander to ever win the Masters.
Including his Masters win, Weir had eight victories on the PGA Tour, and spent over 100 weeks ranked inside golf’s top ten. In 2009, he was inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame, and in addition to that, Weir’s outstanding golfing achievements were further recognised when he also became a member of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2017.
Weir may not have had further successes when it came to winning major championships, but he had top-ten finishes in the three other golf majors.
His best major result outside of his 2003 Masters win was his T3 finish in the US Open of the same year. At the US PGA his best result was a sixth-place finish in 2006. Whilst in the Open Championship, Weir’s highest finish was T8 in 2007.
2003 was by far his best season in the majors, with Weir finishing first in the Masters, T3 in the US Open, T28 in the Open Championship, and T7 in the US PGA. Weir’s three top-seven finishes in three of the majors in that year shows just how good the Ontarian was back in his day.
In total Weir had 11 top-ten finishes at major championships, a record to be proud of. He also played in five Presidents Cups, memorably defeating Tiger Woods in a head-to-head match in 2007.
Sadly for Weir, his career was on the wane at this stage, and it fell away further after injuries in 2010 and 2011. On his return, it was clear his best days were well behind him after missing numerous cuts.
But that doesn’t take anything away from Weir’s achievements. His Masters win came in the era of Tiger Woods’ dominance, a time when a second-place finish to arguably the best golfer of all time, was as good as a win.
No matter what happens in the future, Weir will always go down as one of Canada’s best-ever golfers.