Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

PGA Tour pumped on 'Peg

Senior VP says Players Cup has great venue and fan base

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The transition to a new approach to the Canadian pro golf tour appears to be going smoothly in Winnipeg.

When the PGA Tour Canada schedule debuts in 2013, it will include the Players Cup.

PGA Tour senior vice-president Jeff Monday, whose assessment of the former Canadian Professional Golf Tour over the last year has been instrumental in the circuit's new life, was in Winnipeg Thursday to announce the deal.

The Players Cup has both a three-year agreement with PGA Tour Canada, and a similar term in its arrangement to stage the 72-hole championship at Pine Ridge Golf Club, where the Canadian Tour has been in consecutive years since 2000.

Next summer's dates are July 15-21.

"What was the most impressive thing was the passion the people involved in the tournament have for it," Monday said about his visit to the 2012 Players Cup last July. "And if you have that, lots of things can be achieved."

The new brand will launch in 2013 with eight tournaments on the PGA Tour Canada schedule. Winnipeg and Saskatoon have already been confirmed.

With the resources of the PGA Tour and its world-wide brand power, Monday sees bigger and better things for the future tournament experiences in Canada.

"We want to build the profile of the tournament throughout the community, really turn it into a social event where you happen to have some golf going on," he explained Thursday. "I was telling somebody the other day that the best answer I always get when I go around and ask fans, 'Hey, who's ahead?' is when they said, 'I don't know.' We've succeeded then because they just want to be out there to enjoy the atmosphere and experience of the event."

Monday also said the choice to include Winnipeg was "easy."

"We have all the right elements here," he said. "We have learned that a real important thing for having a golf tournament is a golf course and having Pine Ridge is fantastic...

"I think that was a pretty easy choice. It was evident in talking with sponsors, volunteers and people within the community. There's a great base here."

PGA Tour Canada helps the PGA Tour re-align several levels of golf.

With the 2012 Q-school just completed, the future path to the PGA Tour is now strictly through the Web.com Tour, the main tour's top development league.

Next year, the 50 available membership cards for the PGA Tour will come from the Web.com Tour's season-ending series.

Future Q-schools will only be for Web.com membership.

From PGA Tour Canada (and also the spring and fall PGA Tour Latinoamerica, which was established this year) the top five players on the money list will earn promotions to the Web.com Tour and the next five players from that list will earn berths to the Q-school tournament.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 7, 2012 C6

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