After receiving a call from RCGA ED Scott Simmons telling me he was disappointed about my blog about the recent player announcements from the RCGA, I gave the whole matter a serious second thought. The result is this column in today’s National Post. I wouldn’t say I’ve re-evaluated the situation as much as reconsidered the possible upside. Is the field stronger already this year? Yes. Is that enough? No. Simmons says the goal is to make the Canadian Open a “best in class” tournament. Sure that’s marketing speak, but you know what he’s getting at. Problem is that he agreed with me that in order to have a “best in class” tournament, you have to have one of the top two players in the world — Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. And they won’t likely come until there’s a better date. So this is a chicken-and-egg debate. Anyway, here’s a taste of the column:
When it comes to the Canadian Open, it is a question of whether the glass is half full or tipped over and spilling onto the floor.
The perspective one takes depends on how you view the latest rebranding and marketing campaign, as well as player announcements made by the Royal Canadian Golf Association earlier this week.
Getting several players in the Top 50 of the World Rankings to commit to a date a week after the British Open in July, especially this early, is a significant accomplishment. With defending champion Jim Furyk returning and Retief Goosen, Jeff Quinney, Boo Weekley agreeing to come to Canada and play alongside Mike Weir and Stephen Ames, the field is already stronger than last year’s event.
Who deserves the credit? RCGA executive director Scott Simmons points to Royal Bank, which came on as lead sponsor last fall. Simmons says the bank is already ranked as one of the top five sponsors on tour by the PGA Tour, and the financial institution has been throwing around the coin to support the event in a way befitting a national championship. That means some interesting new promotional concepts, including concerts by Tom Cochrane, Blue Rodeo and 54-40.
The full column is here.