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U.S. PGA Tour affiliation already paying off for players, fans

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The Players Cup is hosting the Players Cup Pro-Am and Celebrity Pro-Am at Pine Ridge golf club today, featuring celebrities such as Winnipeg Jets'  Zach Bogosian.

JESSICA BURTNICK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

The Players Cup is hosting the Players Cup Pro-Am and Celebrity Pro-Am at Pine Ridge golf club today, featuring celebrities such as Winnipeg Jets' Zach Bogosian. Photo Store

The tournament might have the same name but fans can expect a lot more from this year's Players Cup.

The PGA Tour Canada is in its inaugural year hosting Manitoba's top golf event that runs Thursday to Sunday at Pine Ridge.

The Players Cup used to be a Canadian Tour event, but, when the PGA Tour took over, it was rebranded under the new name.

PGA Tour Canada president Jeff Monday has already seen a huge benefit after just three events.

"What we've experienced so far to date has honestly been better than we ever could have even imagined," Monday said Tuesday. "The enthusiasm around the tournament, the support of the community has just been tremendous and we're looking forward to a good week."

The PGA Tour Canada has seen a rise in the quality of competition because of the rewards offered through PGA Tour Canada events. $150,000 is available in prize money, but more importantly, the top three players on the tour's money list at the end of this week's event will qualify for next week's RBC Canadian Open.

Journey

The top five money leaders at the end of the season will earn a Web.com tour card and will start a new journey that could lead them to the PGA Tour.

One of those players working towards the PGA Tour is Nick Taylor of Abbotsford, B.C. Taylor has finished all three PGA Tour Canada events in good standing, finishing with a tie for fourth, a tie for second and a tie for sixth. He sits fourth on the order of merit.

"Lots to play for this year and it's exciting. There's a lot more excitement on the tour and guys are pumped up for each week," Taylor said.

Taylor has seen some differences on the course while playing in the PGA Tour Canada events.

"Things from the leaderboards to the course set-up. It's a little tougher," he said. "The rough is a little higher. I think it's just a little better. All of the players notice it."

Fans will notice more than longer grass though. The Players Cup has improved on the presentation of the championship. They've made an effort to include new and improved signage and staging.

"The tournaments have done a tremendous job in that regard, just elevating the profile, look and feel of the tournament. When spectators come on site they feel something different," Monday said.

But even with improved staging and better quality players, Monday says the events can never happen without community support and volunteers.

"We had big expectations and so far we've even exceeded those. Really, in two areas: one is the level of enthusiasm we've received when we come into Victoria, Saskatoon, Fort McMurray and now in Winnipeg," Monday said.

kyle.jahns@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 17, 2013 0

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Updated on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 6:41 AM CDT: Replaces photo, adds sidebar

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