Golf Quebec: Joey Savoie
January 14, 2019
My experience at British Amateur 2019
July 2, 2019

What I learned at the RBC Canadian Open

It was my second experience on the biggest stage in golf: the PGA tour. Most importantly, it was my second Canadian Open and playing on home soil. Many asked me if playing the tournament last year would be of any help because of the experience: at this time last year, I probably would have said it most definitely has an impact, but the circumstances of this year’s tournament were different, different time of the year, different conditions, different golf course, different caddy, different weather, different field and different set-up. 

The name of the tournament is probably the only thing that did not change, except, maybe, the food as it was still delicious. 

This is not to excuse the result, but simply a list of some things that sums up my learning experience. In the end, playing Hamilton Golf and Country Club was obviously a different challenge than Glen Abbey.

Golf Canada, RBC and Hamilton Golf Club brought the experience to a new height and I was glad to be a part of it.

But what did I learn from this week?

After reflection, here is a new expression, that I will now use: the Silverman effect. Although the definition has yet to be written in the dictionary, the Silverman effect would in my words be this: the simple control and complete understanding of who you are and that with humility and respect.

For those who do not know Ben Silverman, he is a Canadian golfer playing his second year on the PGA Tour. The « luck of the draw » made him my playing partner for the first two rounds along side another Canuck Adam Svensson. Ben shot 61 (-9) the second round, and with 4 holes to go, he had a chance for 59. It was the best thing I saw in person and let me try to explain what it was.

Ben Silverman was prepared this week, just as he most probably is all the time. He is not the longest, the straightest, but he has almost perfect control of what he does.

When he had the misfortune of ending up in the long rough of Hamilton G&CC, he always made sure to intelligently position himself to finish it up with an uphill 10footer for par putt. That’s how he started the tournament: missed the fairway left, layed it up to 35 yards in front the green, pitched it to 10’ and finally drained the putt. Par. While that was happening, I felt like I didn’t miss a shot, but still made boguey on the first hole. 

That surely sums out the Silverman effect, he was well aware of what he could and couldn’t do. He wasn’t trying anything special, he was simply executing the shots he knew he could to the best of his abilities. 

Another shot he hit was on the 17th hole in the 2nd day were he stucked a 235 yard shot to 3’ for eagle. He didn’t hit a penetrating long iron, he hit a high cut/slice 3 wood because he knew that shot perfectly and he executed. 

I have to admit, the Silverman effect is also to have a great short game. He was incredible inside 10’ on the greens, he knew when to hit the putt firm through the breaks or delicate. His speed control was perfect and nothing was moving. He had a small unorthodox putter, but he isn’t in it for style, but rather for scoring.

The Silverman effect is also being humble. Always smiling and aways appreciative of his playing partners good shots. He is a real gentleman. 

What is the feeling of being canadian at the canadian open?

That’s another thing I learned: people in Canada will know who you are if you play the Open!

It didn’t matter if I was an amateur and Corey Conners was on the tee box near the green I was putting. When I made that par putt on the 8th green the second round, people cheered like it was a very important putt! They loved to cheer for the Canadians! I won’t forget my coach Daniel Langevin giving me a little wink and fist pump after that putt. It was the most satisfying putt of the tournament as what seemed like a few hundred people were watching.  

Last but not least, playing the Canadian Open makes you appreciative of whoever is helping you get there. My dad Pierre and my mom Hélène were there all week. My coach Daniel Langevin was caddying and we still learned a lot together even if it has been 7 years since he started helping me. My girlfriend Catherine was also present and even caddied for the practice rounds, what a great moment! My sister and other family friends were there to support as well. More broadly, the Golf Canada family was there and I am fortunate to be on the amateur national team and surrounded by Derek Ingram (coach), by Jeff Thomson (the director) and by a great group of people. 

Most importantly, many friends back home and at my golf club Pinegrove showed their support and it was amazing!

The Canadian Open is in the books and we keep learning!

Unto the next one…