The Great Lakes Tour and the NGA Tour have announced a partnership in which the Great Lakes Tour, based in Ontario, will join the NGA Association of Development Tours, beginning in 2014.
Under the new arrangement, the NGA Tour will act as the sanctioning body for the newly-branded NGA Great Lakes Tour.
The new partnership is designed to provide players with more opportunities to compete, as well as provide improved financial gains, as developing players look to advance their professional careers.
The Great Lakes Tour becomes the first development tour outside of the United States to be sanctioned by the National Golf Association, outside of its main NGA Tour Pro Series.
The NGA currently sanctions three other development tours in the United States, including the NGA Florida Winter Series, NGA Carolina Summer Series and NGA Carolina Winter Series.
The agreement would allow top points leaders from the NGA Great Lakes Series to receive membership and exempt status on the NGA Tour’s main Pro Series.
The NGA Pro Series includes a schedule that runs from late February through early September. Graduates include Keegan Bradley, Zach Johnson, Bubba Watson and Jim Furyk, among others.
“We have always strived to provide as many opportunities for as many professionals at the developmental tour level as possible,” said NGA Tour president Robin L. Waters.
“In 2006 we became the first developmental tour in the United States to host an event outside of the country (in Guatemala),” added Waters.
“Now that the opportunity has presented itself, it seems like the perfect time to partner with a tour outside of the U.S. to provide even more opportunities than can be had by hosting just a single event,” he said.
“We have found that partnership with the Great Lakes Tour, a tour that is just as committed as we are to the development of their players. After all is said and done, that’s what developmental golf is all about, the players,” said Waters.
The Great Lakes Tour was founded in 2000 and conducts events from mid-April through October.
“It’s pretty clear what the partnership with the NGA represents in our market,” said Great Lakes Tour Director John Brisson,
“It gives the Great Lakes Tour many new opportunities and offers the players even more. When my son David and I acquired the tour, it was with one simple goal – to grow professional golf in Canada, and this partnership further shows our commitment,” he said.
“Our Great Lakes Tour members will be able to improve and develop their games while competing against some of the world’s best. We are excited to work with Robin and the NGA team,” said Brisson.
Going into its 14th season, the Great Lakes Tour will conduct 16 events for the 2014 season, including a Tour Championship and the Southern Ontario Open.
As part of the agreement, NGA Tour Pro Series members will be able to participate in any NGA Great Lakes Tour event at member’s entry.