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PGA Tour Canada making the right strides

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Forward momentum.

That’s what PGA Tour Canada seems to be making after taking over the financially-strapped Canadian Tour late last year.

Last week I found myself in Saskatoon working on an assignment. I hadn’t been to the city in six years, and the last time I was there I toured Dakota Dunes, the site of last week’s tournament. It is a solid course – but it wasn’t the course that intrigued me when I toured it with the tour’s head of business affairs, Scott Pritchard.

In the past Pritchard had the inevitable task in recent years to try to sell a tour that was obviously struggling and in its last year looked like it would be taken over by the PGA Tour. Now that’s happened and Pritchard is finally able to try to sell a legitimate product with a stable financial backer.

The product on the tour has never been the issue – the problem is getting people to recognize it. What the tour is doing is dressing up its events so it doesn’t look like a rural fair run by hucksters just pulled in. They are making it look professional and professionally run, something that will surely benefit them in the long run.  That means appropriate roping of tees and greens, signs that show the money leaders (even after a singular event) and a proactive media plan. It also means trying to showcase the players more, though I’ll admit I haven’t made the effort to watch the television program being shot each week that is meant to generate some interest around the tour.

From a Canadian perspective it is an interesting year for talent, which is what this week’s Global Golf Post column (you can find it here) addresses. I don’t know whether Nick Taylor, or Albin Choi will make it to the next tier, or if Eugene Wong or Mackenzie Hughes (none of whom made the cut, btw) can find the ability to rise to the PGA Tour. Of course, it took Mike Weir a half dozen tries to get to that level. Nonetheless, all four have the pedigree to make the leap.

And at last they seem to be playing on a tour that has emerged from the backwoods – and that’s good to see.

 

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Mackenzie has it right. All he needs is time to succeed, and fail. Both instances are part of the learning curve.

  • Robert,
    Your article Canadian Young Guns Fight The Odds is intriguing, particularly those comments on looking at the differences in our Canadian golf standouts and their American counterparts.

    These same comparables were present back in the early 70s when Doug Roxburgh was at U. of Oregon for a short period who was then being compared to Ben Crenshaw at the U. of Texas. It is an interesting subject to uncover why so many of our very best Canadian amateur/colligate players who want to make it on the PGA Tour fall short? (Doug never wanted to play pro.)

    The fact that Hughes and Wong speak about being “under the radar” and “not getting the attention as some of their peers” may also shed a little light on what could be the difference… a different attitude is a good place to start, if those thoughts are in fact in their minds. This has been a predominant pattern and may be rooted in the difference in our two countries inherent cultures?

    The American counterparts are not satisfied with great amateur/colligate records. They aren’t waiting for benefits to come their way. They are taking charge and shifting gears after amateur golf and are far more committed to paying the price to capitalize as professional players.

    Many top Canadian players who have achieved high amateur/colligate records may be more concerned with what they think they should be receiving rather than realizing that having a great amateur/colligate career means next to nothing when it comes to making it at the professional level.

    Bridging the gap starts with the right mindset.

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