There are plenty of golf fans living with regret. There is no need to join them.
In twenty-one years of covering golf I have heard it plenty of times. A golfer has major success on a world stage and golf fans says, “man, I should have gone to watch them play when they were in my own backyard.”
Cases in point…let’s start with the Eastern Ontario locals. I can assure that players like Web.com Tour winner Brad Fritsch and major champion Brooke Henderson were just as talented before their most recent successes.
Fortunately Brooke will return the region in 2017 for the playing of the Canadian Pacific Open at the Ottawa Hunt & Golf Club but normally, once players turn pro, the chance to see them locally becomes a rare occasion. I think you’d rather be the person who says “I saw them when…” rather than “I wish I had gone to watch them play when…”
In that vein, an opportunity exists for golf fans in Ottawa that they should take advantage of. Last year we had two Mackenzie Tour events in Eastern Ontario. Unfortunately, after four years and limited fan support, The Great Waterway Classic is gone for good.
Fortunately, we still have the National Capital Open to Support Our Troops still taking place at Hylands Golf Club.
Last year the field included a number of players that have gone on to the Web.com Tour. Historically the Tour has also produced many, many future PGA TOUR winners.
I still hear stories from people about their interactions with now TOUR winners Tony Finau (winner, 2016 Puerto Rico Open) and Nick Taylor (winner, 2015 Sanderson Farms Championship) when they played in the Mackenzie Tour’s Great Waterway Classic at Upper Canada Golf Club in 2013. Yes, Upper Canada in South Dundas, population less than 11,000.
Jimmy Walker, Steve Stricker, and James Hahn may be household names now but they too got their start on the Canadian circuit.
Hahn’s win at the 2016 Wells Fargo Championship was the 125th by a Mackenzie Tour alumni.
Chances are that within the field at the National Capital Open to Support Our Troops is a future PGA TOUR winner, or several.
So, my word of warning to you is this. If you are a golf fan get out to Hylands Golf Club this year and see the stars of tomorrow. You may not know their names now but their talent is already there; you can learn a lot by watching them play and be entertained as well.
The best part is that you don’t have to go halfway across the globe to see them play. For a small price and in a convenient location you can gather the material for that great golf story you get to tell years from now.
/ Scott MacLeod @Flagstick