The GNN Poll was hovering at 60 per cent of readers who believe the dormant Canadian PGA Championship can be revived when Canadian PGA president Lindon Garron was informed of that number.
“It should be higher,” said Garron, who got his wish when that number got closer to 70 per cent afterwards.
Of course, the number is always changing on the GNN Poll, but Garron was optimistic about even the 60 per cent figure.
“It encouraging to hear that really,” he said. “It would be so easy for most people to say, `Nothing’s happened since 2005,’ and that it’s not going to happen.
“It’s very encouraging to believe that 60 per cent believe it will and I look at that as a significant amount,” said Garron.
The Canadian PGA Championship, this country’s second-oldest national event, ended its run as a Nationwide Tour event when Jon Mills of Belleville, Ont., won it in 2005 at Whistle Bear in Cambridge, Ont.
Since then, the prestigious championship has been in mothballs and Garron says the association plans to change that and return it to its traditional place of honour on the national tournament schedule.
“We’ve been doing a lot of work on it behind the scenes. Our commitment is to Canadian players. I’m not suggesting for a minute it’s only for our tour players at a high level. Our commitment is to all Canadian players that play professional golf,” he said.
“We’ve discussed numerous options for the Canadian PGA Championship, but as a board, think it deserves to be held in the regard it always was and that’s a high-end even.,” said Garron.
Dating back to 1912, the Canadian PGA Championship has been won by the likes of Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Ray Floyd and Steve Stricker, among others, as well as Canadians such as Dan Halldorson, Dave Barr, Dick Zokol, George Knudson, Moe Norman, Al Balding, Bob Panasik and Stan Leonard.
Over the years, the Canadian PGA Championship has been played in several forms, including stints on the Canadian Tour and Nationwide Tour.
“Both were good intentions in the past. We had a great relationship with the Canadian Tour,” said Garron, adding that lack of sponsorship ended its run as a Nationwide Tour event.
“Unfortunately, financially, it didn’t work out. We were forced to get away from it. That put us from a high level Nationwide event to trying to get something on stream,” he said.
That process has been taking place for four years now and different options have been discussed, the most popular being a high profile event that would put PGA Tour players such as Mike Weir and Stephen Ames against a field of other high level Canadians and perhaps even some other tour players from outside the country.
The Canadian PGA even had IMG working on such a prospect but the proposed event, rumoured to be played in Calgary, never materialized.
“That was a discussion a couple of years ago and we pursued it to a certain extent, but the market out there is a challenge right now,” said Garron.
It’s also a challenge for any form the tournament transforms into, even a return to the Canadian Tour or Nationwide Tour. The other challenge to running the tournament on those tours is how many spots in the field they would want for their own players, Canadian or American?
“A lot of things were in the works and I think that’s probably the confusing issue that’s out there is that you hear one thing or you hear another and everybody grabs a hold of that,” said Garron, adding that a definitive answer may not be far away.
“There’s always options. We’re never going to close the door on any of them, but at this point, there’s one particular avenue that we’re pursuing and we’re hoping it’s going to work out,” said Garron.
“It appears closer than it has in the past. I’ll leave it at that.”
Seven Canadians are in the top 20 following the second rounds of the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour qualifying schools on Thursday.
At the PGA Tour qualifying school at Bear Lakes Country Club in West Palm Beach, Ted Brown of Peterborough shot a five-under 67 on Thursday and was tied for third at six-under.
Edmonton’s Barrett Jarosch had the round of the day among Canadians as he shot a six-under 66 to move into a tie for eighth in a group that also included Julien Trudeau of Montreal, who had a 68 on Thursday. Graham DeLaet of Weyburn, Sask., was tied for 16th.
Montreal’s Lisa Meldrum shot a second round 70 at LPGA Tour Q-school at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, where she was tied for fifth at three-under, while Adrienne White of Red Deer, Alta., and Kirby Dreher of Fort St. John, B.C. were tied for 13th at one-under apiece.
For complete Canadian scoring from the second round, see Your Q-School Leaderboard on the GNN home page.