Canadian PGA Relaunches Its Championship

Nope Mike Weir and Stephen Ames won’t be there — why should anyone have expected that? — but after years of trying the CPGA has finally found a workable formula to relaunch its oldest championship.

The CPGA Championship, which started in 1912 and finished with Jon Mills’ win on the Nationwide Tour in 2005, will relaunch in June in Calgary as a 64-player match play event.

The PGA Championship of Canada sponsored by Mr. Lube will be contested June 14-18 at Cottonwood Golf & Country Club in Calgary, Alberta with a total purse of $100,000. Conducted as a match play championship, the PGA Championship of Canada will take the Association’s 64 highest ranked players directly off the Canadian PGA Player Rankings to create what will be the greatest showcase of Canadian PGA talent each and every year.

Interestingly, some questioned the release of a CPGA player ranking earlier this week, with Bob Weeks at ScoreGolf wondering why the organization would bother. It makes much more sense now with the release of the CPGA Championship — as #1 ranked pro, Bryn Parry will be scheduled to play the #64 player. The divisons for the match play are expected to be named after famed CPGA Winners — Knudson, Balding, Norman and Leonard.

For years the CPGA had been aggressively trying to reignite the championship, with bold plans to try to create a “Canadian” championship that would include the country’s best players — even those on the Nationwide and PGA Tour. However, since the golden days of the CPGA Championship — when Palmer and Trevino showed up — involved significant appearance fees, it might have been expecting too much to ever get Canada’s biggest names back for anything other than the Canadian Open.

At one point IMG was even assisting with kick-starting the tournament — and I think the recreation of the event is a testament to the perseverence of Jeff Dykeman, the CPGA’s likeable and tenatious business development director. There’s no reason anyone should think the event is a failure because Weir and the like aren’t there. It is probably that sort of thinking that led to the CPGA Championship’s disappearance in 2006. If they had simply recognized that when the Nationwide Tour event (which was held in Cambridge, Ont.) finished it would make more sense to step back and take the event down a level or two, it probably would have survived through the lean years.

Regardless, this seems has to be recognized as a positive event — even if it isn’t one that’s going to gather a lot of attention outside of the golf community.

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Jeff Lancaster

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  • This is pretty exciting. JD has worked hard to resurrect this event – the new format is really interesting and the membership response no doubt will be tremendous.

  • It should have remained the CPGA Championship for CPGA members. It had a lot of history going, all thrown away when it was “opened” up. Sad that this one-time oldest PGA Championship in North America became just another event. At least that’s the opinion of the 1971 runner up:-)

  • While it’s a positive sign The Canadian Tour gets a new sponsor and event, it’s not a proper fit for the CPGA Championship. Boston Pizza would have been MUCH better choice for the traditional CPGA Championship, with Mr Lube hosting a Match Play event. I can, however, understand why the tournament was switched to Match Play format with Mr Lube as the sponsor. Think of promoting the alternative format. “Calgary welcomes the Mr Lube Men’s Individual Stroke Play event”…”Come one, come all!”

    Yeah, stick to match play with Mr Lube…

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