Canadian professional golf events have enjoyed a remarkable turnaround in fortunes the past five years, with both the Canadian Open and Canadian Women’s Open teetering at one time due to lack of sponsorship, but rebounding to elevated status with the arrival of RBC and CN, respectively.
Solid fields are shaping up for both events this year and the same holds true for an inaugural Champions Tour event to be played in a couple of weeks with Fred Couples, Hale Irwin, Tom Lehman, Mark Calcavecchia, Lorne Roberts, Tom Kite and Craig Stadler, among others, already signed on.
The Montreal Championship is shaping up nicely with reports that pro-ams are sold out well in advance, but the launch of this event could have far-reaching effects, if not this year, then perhaps, in the future.
The week after this year’s Montreal Championship is played, the Mr. Lube – Canadian PGA Seniors Championship presented by Cleveland/Srixon will be played at Rattlesnake Point in Milton, Ont. That title may seem long-winded, but the Canadian PGA certainly isn’t complaining about the corporate support.
Like the events mentioned above, the Canadian PGA Senior event had undergone a makeover, with Mr. Lube on board for five years and Cleveland/Srixon signed on for three at a tournament that will kick off this year with the new Mr. Lube Tournament for Life Pro-Am, with proceeds going to Prostate Cancer Canada.
Dave Barr and Bob Panasik signed on to play the other day and word is that Jim Rutledge, who will also play in the Montreal event, isn’t far behind in signing on for the Canadian PGA Seniors.
With those two events being played so closely together, there are certain synergies that could be explored and word is that the two organizations have had discussions, even if nothing is official as of yet.
It remains to be seen, but it is possible to move the Canadian PGA event a couple of weeks ahead to just before the Montreal tournament, which could offer an exemption to the winner the previous week.
That would be similar to the arrangement that sees the winner of the Titleist and FootJoy Canadian PGA Club Professionals Championship play in the RBC Canadian Open.
It’s also worth noting that the Canadian PGA has several exemptions available should any players from the Montreal event decide to stay in Canada for a week, depending on when the CPGA event takes place. As it stands now, there is no Champions Tour event up against this year’s Canadian PGA Senior.
Whether it’s the Champions Tour’s most renowned players will depend on how sweet the pot is financially, but it’s a topic worth discussing and it appears that is what’s happening.
Whatever can be worked out, the Canadian PGA Senior event has a new shine thanks to new sponsorship, clinics and a pro-am and it may be polished up even more.