Canadian Open Tournament
As a national open, and especially as the most accessible non-U.S. national open for American golfers, the event had a special status in the era before the professional tour system became dominant in golf. In the interwar years, it was sometimes considered the third most prestigious tournament in the sport, after The Open Championship and the U.S. Open. This previous status was noted in the media in 2000, when Tiger Woods became the first man to win The Triple Crown (all three Opens in the same season) in 29 years, since Lee Trevino in 1971. In the decades preceding the tournament's move to an undesirable September date in 1988, the Canadian Open was often unofficially referred to as the fifth major.
The top three golfers on the PGA Tour Canada Order of Merit prior to the tournament are given entry into the Canadian Open. However, prize money won at the Canadian Open does not count towards the Canadian Tour money list.
Celebrated winners include Hall of Fame members Leo Diegel, Walter Hagen, Tommy Armour, Harry Cooper, Lawson Little, Sam Snead, Craig Wood, Byron Nelson, Doug Ford, Bobby Locke, Bob Charles, Arnold Palmer, Kel Nagle, Billy Casper, Gene Littler, Lee Trevino, Curtis Strange, Greg Norman, Nick Price, Vijay Singh, Mark O'Meara, and Tiger Woods. The Canadian Open is regarded as the most prestigious tournament never won by Jack Nicklaus, a seven-time runner-up. Diegel has the most titles, with four in the 1920s.
In the early 2000s, the tournament was still being held in early September. Seeking to change back to a more desirable summer date in the schedule, the RCGA lobbied for a better date. When the PGA Tour's schedule was revamped to accommodate the FedEx Cup in 2007, the Canadian Open was rescheduled for late July, sandwiched between three events with even higher profiles (The Open Championship the week prior, the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational the week after, and the PGA Championship the week after that). The tournament counts towards the FedEx Cup standings, and earns the winner a Masters invitation.
In 2019, due to a re-alignment of the PGA Tour and major scheduling, the Canadian Open moved to early-June prior to the U.S. Open. The event was also added to the Open Qualifying Series, allowing up to three of the top-ten finishers to qualify for the Open Championship.
The 2020 event, originally scheduled for June 11 to 14 at St. George's Golf and Country Club in Toronto, was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 9, 2021, Golf Canada announced that the 2021 tournament would be cancelled as well.