When it comes to creative sponsor’s exemptions for pro golf tournaments, the Mackenzie Tour Osprey Valley Open might have just hit a home run.
Or at least a funny bone or two.
The only tournament on the 12-event circuit to be held in the Greater Toronto Area in 2019 has extended an invitation to actor and stand-up comedian Gerry Dee.
While most people will recognize Dee from his stand-up shows and the very successful Mr. D show on CBC that just completed an eight-year run, the Toronto-born entertainer is also an accomplished golfer.
A single digit player and member at The National, when he has time Dee has pursued play in high-level amateur tournaments including multiple appearances at the Golf Ontario Mid-Amateur Championship.
He’ll get to test those skills against the pros for the first time on July 8-14 at the TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley in Caledon, Ontario.
“I’m really excited to play in the Osprey Valley Open this year and play alongside so many incredibly talented professionals who will be the next stars on the PGA TOUR,” said Dee, who recently finished the 20th-anniversary tour of his stand-up comedy in cities around the country. “I have so much respect for the professional game and hopefully I can help provide increased exposure for the players and the Osprey Valley Open to show how talented they really are at this level.”
The inclusion of Dee was an easy selection for tournament organizers given his playing ability, fan appeal, and high public profile within sports enthusiasts.
“Gerry is a name that people recognize across Canada for his hilarious comedy work, but he’s also a skilled player. We’re ecstatic to have him playing in this year’s event and look forward to having some fun with Gerry during the week, raising some awareness for the Osprey Valley Open and TPC Toronto and introducing more fans to the Mackenzie Tour in our second year,” said Osprey Valley Open Tournament Director Brad Parkins.
As you might expect Dee had a little fun with the announcement on Monday, posting his own version of famous Tiger Woods / Curtis Strange interview that was part of Woods’ lead up to turning pro
The Osprey Valley Open also announced sponsor’s exemptions for Bath, Ontario’s Austin James and Langley, B.C.’s James Allenby. James, a former Golf Canada National Amateur Team member who holds conditional status on the Mackenzie Tour this season, was born in nearby Orangeville and will compete in the event for the second consecutive year.
Allenby, a long-time Mackenzie Tour member who began the 2019 season without any Tour status, earned his way into the field at the season-opening Canada Life Open and finished tied for second, then followed that performance by Monday Qualifying into the RBC Canadian Open.
The Osprey Valley Open is the sixth event of the 2019 Mackenzie Tour season, after which the top five players on the Order of Merit will earn status on the Korn Ferry Tour. Counted among past Mackenzie Tour players are seven PGA TOUR winners including Corey Conners, Tony Finau, Aaron Wise, Mackenzie Hughes, Nick Taylor, Adam Long and C.T. Pan.