These are heady times for the Canadian Tour. Beyond the day it was founded, when it is all said and done, there might not be a bigger moment in the tour’s historical timeline than December 14th, 2011.
Tonight the Canadian Tour announced that it had reached a working agreement with the PGA Tour. It comes after years of negotiations that had heated up of late and with the backing of their membership via a vote completed this evening.
Experiencing some financial difficulties, the Canadian Tour reached out to the PGA Tour is hopes of some support and that is exactly what they got. How that plays out for the Canadian Tour in the next few years remains to be seen but few could argue that an affiliation with the biggest tour in your sport could be a bad thing.
In fact with the PGA Tour proposing changes to their qualifying process, this may be a fantastic step for the Canadian Tour who can potentially take on a more official role as part of the feeder system for the Nationwide and PGA Tours – a position that they have long held with many of their tour graduates eventually moving on to the game’s top levels. Currently the Canadian Tour competes heavily for members with the eGolf Pro Tour and the NGA Pro Golf Tour (formerly Hooters Tour) but this would give them a boost in the eyes of many players by having a real affiliation with the PGA Tour, something each of those other tour’s cannot officially claim.
The Canadian Tour has big plans for the next few years and the support of the PGA Tour not only solidifies their current position but potentially gives it the ability to achieve it’s goals in the next few years and beyond. As we have written in recent times, the Canadian Tour has proposals for new events in Canada to fill out their schedule, which has dwindled slightly in the last few years. That includes a new event in Eastern Ontario that is currently making significant progress towards reality. The Canadian Tour will officially release it’s 2012 schedule in mid-January.
The membership vote on the proposal that took place Wednesday night will see the PGA Tour and Canadian Tour create a more formalized partnership than they have had in the past as fellow members of the International Federation of Tours. Prior to a vote by the players full support was given to it by the Canadian Tour’s Player Directors.
Unlike the recent South American agreement that saw the Tour de las Americas be absorbed by the PGA Tour and will result in the new PGA Tour Latinoamerica, this agreement will still see the Canadian operate with independence.
Word from the Tour is that operations will look relatively the same for now with hopes that new member benefits could come forth from this agreement in the future.
“I know the last couple years have been tough for the tour so I think any news like this is a real positive for everybody,” Canadian Tour member Brad Revell commented to Flagstick. “Anytime you can be working with the PGA Tour, you have to think it’s just a big benefit to the tour and it’s members.”
Upon approval by the membership of the proposal, the Canadian Tour released this statement to the media:
PGA TOUR to Lend Support to Canadian Tour
(Oakville, Ont., December 14, 2011)– The Canadian Tour has entered into an agreement with the PGA TOUR that will see the preeminent brand in golf lend support to the 40 year-old Canadian Professional Golf Tour. Building on a relationship that has been developing for a number of years, in addition to an operating loan, the PGA TOUR will be assisting the Canadian Tour in 2012 in the areas of tournament development and sponsorship. More direct involvement by the PGA TOUR beyond 2012 will depend on a joint evaluation by the PGA TOUR and Canadian Tour over the coming year.
“As a result of discussions with the Canadian Tour and understanding its current financial issues, the PGA TOUR has agreed to lend support to the Canadian Tour in 2012. Our goal is to help lend stability to the Canadian Tour, which we believe plays an important role in professional golf and has proven to be a valuable system for developing players over the years,” stated Ed Moorhouse, Co-Chief Operating Officer of the PGA TOUR. “We will assess the situation with the Canadian Tour during the course of the coming year to determine what level of PGA TOUR support should be provided moving forward,” added Moorhouse.
The PGA TOUR relationship dates back to 2001 when the PGA TOUR began extending invitations to the top two players from the Canadian Tour money list into the second stage of PGA TOUR Qualifying School. That relationship was highlighted again in 2007 when the Canadian Tour mounted a cross-Canada campaign for the PGA TOUR to help promote The Presidents Cup in Montreal. Canadian Tour Commissioner Rick Janes has been a member of The Presidents Cup Committee since 2005. In 2009 the Canadian Tour became a full member of the International Federation of PGA Tours and started collaborating with the PGA TOUR on a number of initiatives including an anti-doping policy.
“For the Canadian Tour this is an opportunity in work clothes,” stated Canadian Tour Commissioner Rick Janes. “Whether this leads to more direct involvement by the PGA TOUR beyond 2012 will depend on a number of factors including our ability to strengthen and grow the Canadian Tour across Canada from coast-to-coast. In the meantime, it is a great opportunity to work with the preeminent brand in golf and we can only benefit from that experience.”
Following the conclusion of the 2012 season the PGA TOUR will have the option to continue its support of the Canadian Tour into 2013 and beyond. The 2012 season will be a year in which the Canadian Tour and PGA TOUR work together to evaluate its operations and marketing activities to determine the best structure for the Canadian Tour moving forward.