w/ Scott MacLeod @Flagstick
Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada Preview
Since 2014, the National Capital Open to Support Our Troops has been building its stature, in Ottawa, and across the country. The PGA TOUR Canada – Mackenzie Tour event has provided some exciting golf moments on the fairways of the Hylands Golf Club. Truly though, its impact takes place away from the golf course, in the charities and people it touches.
The 2016 version of the professional golf event will be no different. As in previous years it will support a military-related cause with a specific focus. Through the Support Our Troops program the focal point this year will be on mitigating homelessness among Canadian military veterans.
The week-long event will continue to be a celebration of professional golf, entertainment and informative activities, raising funds and highlighting the challenges faced by Canadian Armed Forces serving members, veterans and their families. The tie-in with the military is a strong one, as noted by Mackenzie Tour Canada President Jeff Monday during a recent visit to Ottawa.
“For us to be able to partner with the Canadian Armed Forces and then hold the tournament at a military golf course is absolutely one of the best things that we’ve been able to accomplish since we launched the TOUR in 2013,” said Monday. “Because it all then goes to support the worthwhile cause of the Canadian Armed Forces, especially this year’s initiative to help address the issue of homelessness amongst veterans.”
“It’s an honour for us to be able to partner with the Canadian Armed Forces; we thank General Vance for allowing us to do that, Commodore Watson and his team, and all members of the armed forces for reaching out and forming this partnership that enables us to not only provide that opportunity to the players but to give back something to the community that means so much to us, and the players, but more importantly, to the citizens of Canada.”
Monday is well-aware that although their tour is transient but there are lasting effects of its presence in the host communities.
“It’s not just a golf tournament; it’s a community event. While we might just be here for one week a year we want to make sure that the impact of the tournament is felt the other 51 weeks out of the year.”
That awareness is something Monday and the Mackenzie Tour team promote among their players, many of whom are young professionals beginning to understand how PGA TOUR affiliated events really can make a difference beyond just entertaining golf enthusiasts.
“The players fully understand that and then when they come on site at this event in particular and see the interconnection between the tournament and the Armed Forces, it takes it to a whole new level.”
“We look forward to a great week, not only in August, but we look forward to continuing this partnership for many years to come.”
General Jonathan Vance, Chief of Defence Staff, is very pleased at the fact that the National Capital Open to Support our Troops aligns with his priority, taking care of people.
“This year’s focus, specifically on veterans’ homelessness, is something we’d like to eradicate, “ Vance stated during a kick-off reception for this year’s tournament, “So, while it still exists we want to make sure to take care of people. We thank Jeff Monday from the tour and all the people involved in this event for what they do.”
Ottawa City Councillor Jody Mitic is a vocal supporter of the Mackenzie Tour event in Ottawa, especially given his ties to the city, sport, and the military. The former Canadian Army sniper lost his feet to a landmine while serving in Afghanistan. He appreciates the challenges facing veterans and he sees the professional golf event at Hylands as yet another vehicle to help support them. It will do it this year specifically through the Veteran’s House Program (under the Multifaith Housing Initiative). Among the program partners is Soldiers Helping Soldiers and it will be the recipient for the monies raised at this year’s National Capital Open with the target set at $100,000.
This Veterans House project specifically targets the needs of the rising number of homeless veterans who are ‘living rough’ in Ottawa. The project will include support services designed to meet the particular needs of homeless or precariously housed veterans in the Ottawa area.
“When I want to help my fellow veterans and comrades you almost run out of ways to do so,” shares Mitic who represents Ottawa’s Innes Ward and is the Sports Commissioner for the city.
“As the Chief of Defence Staff says ‘once we are out of uniform the military’s influence is lost on us and their ability to intervene. That’s why we’ve got to turn to support from others which is why the National Capital Open is so important in that it helps the public recognize their ability to reach out and help a veteran in need. I want to thank those that put on the National Capital Open for putting so much into Veteran’s House and helping us make it a reality.”
Sam Ryder Wins National Capital Open To Support Our Troops
It took one extra sudden-win playoff hole to decide a winner at the 2015 National Capital Open to Support Our Troops at Hylands Golf Club.
Sam Ryder from Longwood, Florida was apologetic about the manner in which he won the Mackenzie Tour -PGA TOUR Canada event after Richmond Hill, Ontario’s Taylor Pendrith had three-putted from 10 feet. Ryder had hit his approach shot to the back fringe on the par 4 – 18th hole in the playoff leaving him a tough chip to the cup. After sizing up his two-foot putt, he calmly stroked it in for the win.
“It was hard to watch the [Pendrith’s] birdie putt. Honestly, I just wasn’t expecting him to miss that second one. I didn’t really want it to end like that, but I’ll take it,” said the 25-year old Ryder, a second-year member on the Mackenzie Tour. “You couldn’t really draw it up better than the way we went back-and-forth all day with no bogeys through 18 regulation holes. It was just a lot of good golf from both of us, and a lot of pressure and a lot of fun.”
It was Sam Ryder’s first win on the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada and it eventually propelled him to the web.com Tour for 2016.
“I’m at a little bit of a loss for words right now, but it feels really good,” said Ryder. “I was already in great shape and had some really solid finishes this year. This feels really good and I think it solidifies myself as one of the contenders out here for sure.”
Ryder and Pendrith were the last twosome to tee off on the final day and they were accompanied throughout by a large group of knowledgeable golf fans. Both players finished their final round with scores of 5 under par 66 with no bogies recorded by either man.
Instead of a champagne dousing; in typical Canadian fashion a few cans of Canadian beer were showered on the winner.
“Absolutely a successful event”, said National Capital Open Tournament Director Doug Langton. “First was the weather. We had a little rain on Thursday but after that it’s been beautiful. For the spectators you couldn’t ask for anything better. We had a lot of volunteers but we could always use more. We had people say that they are volunteering next year including this year’s volunteers and others who thought it looked like fun. We’ll be taking a few weeks off, then assess this year’s event and then start planning for next year.”
Kudos to the organizing committee and the volunteers for their hard work on the tournament and especially to the green-keeping staff under the leadership of Perry Beausoleil who provided an excellent golf course in great condition for the players.
Apart from those receiving cheques, the real winners at the National Capital Open to Support Our Troops were the fans who saw a lot of extremely talented golfers, many of whom are making their way towards their goal of playing on the PGA Tour.
Ottawa’s Lee Curry was the only local player to make the cut. The former TOUR member and member of the professional staff at the Rideau View Golf Club ended play is a share of 54th place.
2016 National Capital Open to Support Our Troops
Dates: August 15-21, 2016
Course: Hylands GC (Ottawa, ON)
Par/Yards: 35-36—71/6800 yards
2015 champion: Sam Ryder
Purse: $175,000/$31,500 (winner)
Format: 72-hole stroke play
Schedule of Events
Monday, August 15th
Official Mackenzie Tour Qualifier at the Hylands Golf Club
Community Golf Club Pro-Am at Hylands Golf Club
VIP Opening Ceremony at the Canadian War Museum
Tuesday, August 16th
Pro-Am followed by dinner and awards at Hylands Golf Club
Wednesday, August 17th
Practice rounds for professional golfers at Hylands Golf Club
Exclusive Breakfast (TBD)
Professional Golf Clinics for the military community
Ladies Who Lunch
Thursday, August 18th
Round 1 – Tournament Competition
Friday, August 19th
Round 2 – Tournament Competition
Saturday, August 20th
Round 3 – Tournament Competition
Sunday, August 21st
Final Round – Tournament Competition