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.