When she won a professional event at the Beloeil Golf Club near Montreal back in June of 2012, it served as an introduction for many to Brooke Henderson, 14, who hasn’t gone away since that remarkable moment that wasn’t supposed to happen for one so young.
Sadly, the tour on which she captured national and international attention that day has gone away with news that the Canadian Women’s Tour won’t operate this year and is likely finished for good due to a lack of sponsorship.
As a result, any player exemptions into the CP Women’s Open that once came through the tour will be reallocated in other ways by Golf Canada. The winner of the PGA Women’s Championship of Canada, which had been an event on the women’s tour, will also get an exemption.
Henderson’s victory at Beloeil is arguably the the moment that stands out for most when it comes to the Canadian Women’s Tour, which was supposed to be about function over flash, a development tour designed to offer aspiring players a place to play, win some money and maybe even get an exemption into an LPGA Tour event.
Last year’s tour only consisted of three events, each with a $60,000 purse and $10,000 to the winner, but every shot and every dollar they made was appreciated by players most wouldn’t recognize, but still have dreams of a Brooke Henderson moment.
Golf Canada had been covering costs the past couple of years and it’s that nondescript nature – at least in the eyes of the public – that makes the tour a tough sell to potential sponsors despite its importance on the development ladder.
If you want Canadians on top, they need a few rungs to get up there, but then again, a sponsor is looking for as many eyes as possible on its company logo.
Yet, the Canadian Women’s Tour has seen players such as Lorie Kane come through its ranks and it became a source of pride for Jocelyne Bourassa, who could have been content with taking bows for the du Maurier Classic, which she served as executive director and was a major on the LPGA Tour until 2000.
However, Bourassa focused on development as well as the tour stars who comprised the Classic field each year and what was the du Maurier Series became a predecessor to the Canadian Women’s Tour.
Not only was the du Maurier Series introduced to help aspiring tour pros, but also to help aspiring female club professionals excel in various aspects of their jobs if that’s the path they chose.
In an interview I did with Bourassa last year when she was named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame as a builder, she calls the players in the du Maurier Series “her girls” and discusses how important it was to her.
Click Play below to listen. Please allow 10 seconds for the sound to cue up.
The tour obviously changed considerably over the years, both in name and in its mission, but evolution in the eyes of aspiring professionals is preferable to extinction.