Tuesday Notes: Weir in Europe and Ontario Clubs in Trouble?

Random thoughts from the storage unit I call a brain:

  • There has been talk that Mike Weir would head to play the European Tour next year with its $20 million Race to Dubai (how exactly does one race to Dubai, anyway?) Phil Mickelson, always seeking to add another dime or two to his bank account, has said he’ll play more overseas and some stories have lumped Weir in with the crewe considering more European Tour play. Not so says Brad Pelletier, managing director of IMG in Canada, Weir’s agency of record. There will be “no change in his playing schedule,” Pelletier said. “His focus for ’09 is as it’s always been — winning on the PGA Tour.” Interestingly, Weir played 26 events this year (and will play Tiger’s tournament before Christmas), making it three more events than any time in the last five years.
  • Interesting to see Ernie Els saying the PGA Tour has delayed the release of its 2009 schedule because it can’t nail down commitments from all of its sponsors. Not surprising, given the state of the economy. Els said: So yes, I would say that officially, I dont know of any, but unofficially I would think that there are going to be a couple of tournaments that are not going to be there next year. (Courtesy
  • I was speaking with someone yesterday about the state of the golf industry and recalled a conversation I had while playing with Paul McLean, the head of Maxium Financial, which does financing for golf course equipment. McLean said — and this was in July — that he had more than a dozen courses on credit watch. Wonder how big that number is now that we’ve had the wettest summer in 30 years?
  • The downturn in the industry has also hit the Canadian golf development business — though I think the slowdown happened a couple of years back and we’re just now seeing the results. What will happen to “Best New” awards if, for example, there is only one new course opening next year? Otter Creek near Woodstock has been well regarded, but little else has opened in the province this summer (Turtle Creek is the only other one I can think of). I spoke with Doug Carrick yesterday and he said he had nothing in construction in Ontario, though a couple were in planning. Meanwhile Thomas McBroom’s site lists nothing new or in construction in Ontario — just a couple of courses in Western Canada and one in Halifax. I guess that means golfers will get a chance to catch their breath and play some Ontario golf courses they may have not had time to see until this point.

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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.

14 CommentsLeave a comment

  • RT – I have heard that both the Gary Player and Annika Sorenstam projects in the Rockies/Kootenays have hit the skids. Can you confirm?

  • RT…Why do you have to take a shot at Mickelson, for saying that he is always trying to add a dime to his bank accout He is a professional athlete who has worked hard to get to his level. What gives you the right as a second rate reporter to take a shot at him. Who the hell do you think you are? Go and f… yourself.

  • Both Mickelson & Weir are US PGA Tour guys due to their sponsors. A couple of tourneys over there is no big deal, but don’t expect much more than that.

  • I spoke with David McLay Kidd a few months ago and the project was in full swing then. Haven’t heard anything to the contrary — I’ll send David a note and see what I come up with.

  • You said, “I spoke with Doug Carrick yesterday and he said he had nothing in construction in Ontario” – but just recently you posted your course preview of Turnberry and that is associated with Carrick. Those pictures show it is most definitely “in construction” so does this not qualify because it is not a regular 18 hole course? Just curious.

    Good point of saying we in Ontario may have a chance to catch up and play the many good courses that have opened over the last few years. It would seem there is more than enough to keep golfers, of all abilities and price levels, happy.

  • Robert – I found that page, but I think it is “cached”. You can’t find it from the main DMK website.

    In BC right now, Maple Bay has crashed, Wyndandsea is on life support, the Player project is in trouble, and word is the Annika one is in trouble or dead as well. Wowsers.

    Let’s all pray for Union Bay.

  • There are quite a few players, many who are much more important than Mike Weir who have been talking about playing the European Tour. It is a more interesting, dynamic and progessive tour, so it is easy to understand why some players would like to get away from the big macs and quarter pounders that the PGA Tour offers and see some of the more interesting world out there. The PGA tour should become the Nationwide Tour and there should be a world tour where the best players from every country compete on a regular basis.

    Phil Mickelson has sponsors who wouldn’t mind being seen on a world stage, Mike Weir isn’t really anybody that gets much attention so nobody outside Canada would care if he played on the euro tour or not.

  • The slowdown in the industry will turn around. Looking purely at the online statistics, golf is searched in Ontario as much as the preceding years, and “golf stores” have exploded this year.

    I run a couple local golf websites in ontario ( that I hope to help the development and marketing process for local golf businesses.


  • Old Tom:

    Greg Norman led an initiative toward a “world tour” many years ago and I believe there were others before him with a similar mindset. The resistance from the PGA tour was as strong as one might expect and it went nowhere although there was lots of talk about it.

    Bottom line, there is too much vested by the PGA Tour to let go of their golden goose to consider options that may be in the best interests of the majority of the golfing public.

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