The Canadian Open is an annual event run by the Royal Canadian Golf Association for professionals and amateurs who qualify. It is the fourth-oldest national GOLF championship in the world, having first been played in 1904 at the Royal Montreal Golf Club. Until 1980 the tournament moved around Canada each year, but that year the RCGA-owned Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ontario, became the permanent site. Some people feel that as a national championship it should still go from course to course; but Glen Abbey was designed to give golf fans excellent views and is recognized as one of the finest courses in the world upon which to hold a tournament, particularly one that draws up to 100 000 spectators.
The tournament has had such winners as top players Byron Nelson, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino and Curtis Strange. American golf legend Jack Nicklaus is considered the best-ever player to never have won the event, finishing second 7 times. American golfers such as Tiger Woods have dominated competition in recent years, with the exception of Fijian Vijay Singh's victory in 2004. With a purse of over US$2 million, it attracts some of the finest golfers from around the world, and is a regular fixture on the American PGA Tour. Typically held in mid-September, event organizers have opted to hold the event in July (commencing in 2007) in an attempt to attract more high-profile golfers worldwide. Pat Fletcher's 1954 victory was the last time a Canadian golfer won the event.
Since 1973 the Canadian Women's Open has offered similar elite competition for female golfers on the LPGA tour. In 2006, CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAY assumed sponsorship of the event and it became the CN Canadian Women's Open.