Canadian Tour PGA Tour Canada announced its tournament schedule yesterday. Not shockingly it is relatively anemic, with two new events replacing two tournaments that have disappeared and seven tournaments in all, including one without a home — yet. There are currently no Ontario events, which is a big gap for the tour.
The news came with the typical canned quote from PGA Tour head honcho Tim Finchem:
“We are delighted to announce the inaugural schedule of PGA TOUR Canada,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. “This Tour presents a tremendous opportunity for the growth of the game in Canada and we’re excited about the future of this tour in the coming years. From The Presidents Cup to the RBC Canadian Open, the PGA TOUR has always been welcomed in Canada. We’ve seen an outstanding appetite and level of support for the game, and we look forward to engaging that interest this year.”
Not surprisingly, the tour struggled to get much traction in the few months since it officially took over the former Canadian Tour. Two tournaments have disappeared, but it seems to be widely accepted that the Windsor event, which was held at the Roseland muni, and the Eastern Ontario event, which was held at Smuggler’s Glen, could come back. I hadn’t heard many complaints about Windsor — but it was well known the Smuggler’s Glen event struggled to attract a field partially due to questionable scheduling.
The two new events happen in Cape Breton — at the Lakes — and at a venue to be announced. The Lakes is an interesting choice for a venue — it won’t be an easy walk, and some of the strategies of the course are questionable, and its practice facility is basically non-existant. But it is still nice to see the tour move to the east coast. Hard to imagine there isn’t something in Halifax — but the tour has been working on landing an event in Eastern Canada for some time without luck.
PGA Tour Canada president Jeff Monday gives another canned quote:
“This is a very solid starting point for our schedule,” said PGA TOUR Canada President Jeff Monday. “Our goal is to provide our members with quality events with long-term commitments, which leave a lasting impact in the communities we play and we feel we are well on our way to achieving those goals. We are working on several opportunities to increase the number of events not only this year but in 2014.”
Admittedly it was hard to expect much more from PGA Tour Canada. Last year was basically a bust. Sponsors wouldn’t sign on without knowing whether they were dealing with the PGA Tour or the Canadian Tour and that wasn’t decided until late in the year. However, if they aren’t up to 12 events in 2014, questions will certainly be raised. Of course, five players will get access (but not full playing privileges apparently) to the Web.com Tour, which is good news, and a handful more get access to the final stage of Q School, which only gets you on the Web.com Tour now.
Finally, the tour has kept purses consistent at $150,000, the same as the Latinoamerica Tour the PGA Tour is also backing.
Wonder how many former CanTour pros recognize that president Jeff Monday’s 2011 salary is slightly more than the combined purses of three tournaments? Bet you that’s a heck of a lot more than Rick Janes was making — heck it is probably more than the combined staff of the former Canadian Tour including Janes. I guess the question now is whether Monday and his staff can deliver. I’ve only sat down with Monday once — he seemed like a sharp, personable guy. But big salaries come with big expectations.
It’ll be interesting to see how this progresses.