Former du Maurier Classic executive director Jocelyne Bourassa will receive the Trainor Award, awarded by the Duramed Futures Tour, this Sunday at the Florida Natural Growers Charity Classic in Winter Haven, Fla.
The Trainor Award is named after Futures Tour founder and former president Eloise Trainor, who retired in 1999 after operating the tour for 20 years. She will present Bourassa with the award, which is given annually to an individual person or group that has made a significant contribution to women’s golf.
“I am shocked, but honoured,” said Bourassa, a native of Shawinigan, Que., who had an outstanding amateur career on the provincial, national and international levels before joining the LPGA Tour in 1972, when she was named the tour’s rookie of the year.
Bourassa has the distinction of being the only Canadian ever to win an LPGA Tour event on home soil, that benchmark coming in 1973, when she won La Canadienne in Montreal.
Injuries forced Bourassa’s career to end prematurely in 1979, but her association with golf was far from over as she went on to become the women’s golf coach at Arizona State in 1980. Later that year, she became executive director of the du Maurier Classic, a tournament that became a tour major.
In that capacity, Bourassa’s focus was not solely on the tour event as she worked with various associations and the Canadian PGA to develop players for young female professionals through programs such as the du Maurier Series.
“I created the du Maurier Series in 1990 and, when it was started, we had less than 20 Canadian women professionals,” said Bourassa. “By 2000, we had more than 150 Canadian women professionals and Lorie Kane and Liz Earley were graduates of that program.”
Bourassa’s work with the du Maurier Classic and Series was in jeopardy in 2000 when federal anti-smoking legislation ended Imperial Tobacco’s long association with the event, but Bourassa worked tirelessly to save the events, even though the Classic lost its major status.
When the Bank of Montreal came on board as title sponsor, the tour event carried on and the Series became the Bank of Montreal Canadian Women’s Tour. CN has since taken sponsorship of both the LPGA event and development tour, which offers exemptions into the CN Canadian Women’s Open.
Bourassa continues her development work, serving as senior consultant for Golf Quebec, a new program that brings golf into elementary schools in that province. She also creates women’s and corporate clinics throughout the country.
“For me to continue the work of developing women’s golf, I am going back to the grassroots,” said Bourassa.
“I wanted to mentor a little bit and work with the pros we have developed. Now, I am working with the teaching professionals and physical educators to reach the children in this new program in the schools.”