Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

PGA Tour of Canada debuts next season

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- After lending strategic and financial support to the Canadian Tour over the last year, the PGA Tour officially put the development golf circuit under its umbrella Thursday and renamed it PGA Tour Canada.

The tour will debut in 2013 with at least eight summer tournaments in Canada offering a minimum purse of $150,000. The conversion will begin Nov. 1.

"Having gained a thorough understanding of the golf landscape in Canada over the course of the 2012 season, we are confident that by fully dedicating our assets and resources, PGA Tour Canada will be well positioned to play an increasingly important role in professional golf," said PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem.

"With a solid foundation of existing tournaments along with outstanding opportunities to establish new events, we are confident PGA Tour Canada will strengthen and grow in the coming years."

The developmental tour will provide direct access to the Web.com Tour for its leading money winners, based on the final Order of Merit. The top five players will receive playing privileges on the Web.com Tour, while the next five will be exempt into the finals of the Web.com Tour qualifying school.

The Canadian Tour has been a training ground for up-and-coming professionals since its inception as the Peter Jackson Tour in 1971.

"This is the logical next step for the Tour's sustainability and growth," said Canadian Tour board chair Pierre Blouin. "The PGA Tour provided invaluable assistance throughout the 2012 season and through its evaluation process saw strong potential.

"Golf is incredibly popular in Canada and PGA Tour Canada will be a very important part of Canada's sports landscape in the coming years."

Details on the full schedule and the Tour's executive structure will be announced at a later date. The PGA Tour Canada hopes to eventually grow to 12 or 13 events.

"We have long recognized the many advantages of joining forces with the PGA Tour," said Canadian Tour commissioner Rick Janes. "It not only brings a new level of stature to Canada's domestic circuit, it ensures that PGA Tour Canada will continue to attract the best young professionals...

"For developing young Canadian players the opportunity to compete on home soil against top PGA Tour prospects from around the world is a tremendous advantage."

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 19, 2012 C8

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