Johannesburg - South African Tim Clark is looking forward to "a fun
week" for his title defence at the Canadian Open where he hopes to put
behind him a frustrating 2015 campaign that was derailed by elbow surgery in
Clark has played in just two PGA Tour events since then, and was forced to
withdraw from last week's British Open at St Andrews in Scotland due to visa
Canada, however, has always been a welcome sanctuary for a golfer whose wife
hails from Toronto and he is delighted to be at Glen Abbey Golf Club in
Oakville, Ontario this week after winning last year's Canadian Open at Royal
"I was extremely proud of my win last year," Clark, 39, told
reporters while preparing for Thursday's opening round. "Winning in
different countries means a lot to me as a player, so that was definitely
"Not often do you have the opportunity of coming back and defending any
sort of title, so this will be a fun week. I take pride in winning a national
championship like this.
"I've been fortunate to win the Australian Open and the Scottish Open,
the South African Open and also here, so I'm just missing a couple big
ones," he grinned, in reference to the two majors -- the British Open and
Clark had major elbow surgery in 2011 which sidelined him for most of that
season, so he has been encouraged by a much earlier return to action this year
after having a similar procedure in February to repair a torn tendon.
"This time I've only missed five months, so I feel like I've been able
to find my game a lot quicker," said the South African, a double champion
on the PGA Tour.
"Although the (left) arm doesn't feel a hundred percent right now, I
know that the right one feels great, so it's just a matter of time before it
(the left) feels good. This is my third tournament back and my game feels
Clark, who clinched last year's Canadian Open by one shot over veteran Jim
Furyk, faces a strong field that includes three players in the world's top 10 -
third-ranked Bubba Watson, Furyk (seventh) and Jason Day (ninth).
A notable absentee will be American Brandt Snedeker, the 2013 champion at
Glen Abbey, who has been sidelined by a hip injury.