The RCGA rolled out Ty Votaw (yes, the former LPGA commissioner who ended up dating one of his players) yesterday to talk about how important the Canadian Open is to the PGA Tour.
Here’s what Votaw had to say on the fact there’s no sponsor for the event:
“The PGA Tour brand is strong,” Votaw said Friday after speaking to the RCGA’s Board of Governors. “The history of golf in Canada is strong. I think the event itself is a selling point.”
That’s easy to say, especially when the PGA Tour saddled the event with the date after the British Open.
The story, by a Canadian Press sports reporter Chris Johnston, quotes Brad Pelletier, the head of IMG Canada, about the possibility of finding a sponsor. Pelletier says it will be tough — but achievable. I’ve had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with Pelletier lately and he’s a great leader for this cause — a guy with a track record of putting together an attractive marketing proposal with the right company. However, it strikes me that for the RCGA to turn to an outside agency to find the right sponsor, it says the organization does not have the leadership to find and attract the correct sponsorship opportunities.
Increasingly I’m hearing from a lot of highly placed golf industry sources that they feel it is time RCGA executive director Stephen Ross stepped aside and let someone else steer the ship for the leading golf organization in Canada. These sources, many of which have had extensive dealings with the RCGA, say Ross doesn’t have the business connections to pull in a sponsor. I don’t know whether that is true — but Ross has spent his entire career working for the RCGA and does not appear to have tremendous links to Bay Street, or the business communities in Calgary, Montreal or Vancouver. Regardless, he’s in a difficult spot and the accolades of finding — or the derision for not finding — a sponsor for the Open will likely rest with him.
As for Ross, apparently he’ll be stress free once a sponsor is found:
“It is on the top of my list,” he said. “I know we don’t have a sponsor yet because there is still some stress in my life.”
The full CP story is here.