He’s embarrassed to say he’s never played the host club for the 2013 Great Waterway Classic but that’s not stopping PGA TOUR member Brad Fritsch from throwing his support behind the PGA TOUR Canada event.
On Tuesday the Manotick, Ontario-raised Fritsch was announced as the Honourary Chair for the second-year tournament that will play out on August 19-25th at the Upper Canada Golf Club near Morrisburg, Ontario. The Canadian Junior Golf Association is the event operator and they wisely sought out the local pro to be their public face.
Having made 12 of 16 cuts in his rookie PGA TOUR season Fritsch has gained significant profile for his exploits and in keeping with his strong ties to his home region, he was quick to jump on board when asked.
“This marks kind of an exciting day for me because it’s been a long time since I have been able to be involved in a professional golf tournament in the Ottawa area,” Fritsch chimed in by phone from North Carolina to a media event held at the host course on Tuesday. “The first and only one I was able to play was in 2001 at the Eagle Creek Classic.”
Fritsch, now 35, played what was then the Canadian Tour for two long stints, for a total of eight seasons, interrupted by a stay on the Web.com Tour. The circuit has been his anchor and giving back to it, the community, and pro golf in eastern Ontario made for an attractive package.
“I’m excited to support the Great Waterway Classic as the Honorary Chairman and I’ll do anything I can to support the event…within in reason, of course,” added the pro who has banked more than $347,000 in earnings on TOUR this year. “The PGA TOUR Canada had a huge role in my development as a player.”
For the CJGA, having the most visible golf professional in Eastern Ontario out front for them is a real boon. Their Chief Operations Officer, Brad Parkins, had a big smile on his face as he explained how Fritsch would be involved.
“Brad’s role will be one of a ceremonial role for the 2013 Great Waterway Classic where he will assist in the promotion of the event through various avenues such as radio interviews and other media outlets. We’re just delighted to have Brad throw his support behind the Great Waterway Classic both as a native to the area and an alum of PGA TOUR Canada.”
The alumni is equally pleased, even though he admits he never quite got to play the C.E. Robbie Robinson designed host course during his time living in Ontario.
“I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never played the Upper Canada Golf Course but I’ve only heard good things about it.”
Even so, Brad says he knows others will flock to the course in August and he’ll do what he can to help get them there.
“Growing up in Ottawa I can tell you that the whole of Eastern Ontario is golf crazy. Even though I don’t get back as much as I’d like I’ll try and support the Great Waterway Classic. I’m just excited for people in that area.”
On top of the announcement of Fritsch as the Honourary Chair, the day also brought other major news. The PGA TOUR has raised nearly $2 Billion for charity since 1938 and that streak will carry on at the PGA TOUR Canada’s The Great Waterway Classic.
Parkins named the Cornwall Hospital Foundation as their Official Charity. “We’re delighted to be involved with the foundation,” he mentioned in his remarks, adding that funds will be raised throughout the week of The Great Waterway Classic including through a number of initiatives including the pro-am and a portion of the gate proceeds.
Connie Vardy, Executive Director of the Cornwall Hospital Foundation, was on hand to represent the charity and explained what being paired with the tournament will mean for them.
“We really feel honored to have the proceeds from this great community event to come to the hospital foundation. We have three hospitals in our area that service the local residents at Winchester, Glengarry, and Cornwall to care of everyone’s needs. We recently finished a MRI campaign where we were able to purchase an MRI so folks in our region didn’t have to Kingston and to Ottawa to get their MRI’s anymore. So when you give to the Cornwall Hospital Foundation you’re actually helping our whole region and helping health care in general.
People really care about their hospitals. The second thing the care about is golf. I can tell you that people here love golf. I moved to the area about eleven years ago and you didn’t get to know anyone if you didn’t play golf so this is a terrific marriage.
To be able to have the amateurs and pros come to our area is just fantastic so we appreciate being chosen; we appreciate the dollars. We’ll use them wisely to take care of health care in our region and we’ll see you all there. It’s quite exciting.”
The campaign to bring awareness to The Great Waterway Classic will now start to ramp up and you can expect the face of Brad Fritsch to be a big part of it.
Scott Pritchard, Director of Tournament Business Affairs for PGA Tour Canada talked about the relationship from the Tour’s perspective.
“We’re excited to have Brad involved. Brad is not only a great ambassador for golf in this region, but in Canada and we approached Brad to be involved in this event he didn’t hesitate at all. He basically said what can I do.”
Videos produced by PGA TOUR entertainment featuring Fritsch are in the works which will be available at the PGA TOUR Canada and Great Waterway Classic websites. Posters featuring Brad and the recently announced PGA TOUR Campaign “The Roars Start Here” have also been created for distribution in the community.
For more information see www.thegreatwaterwayclassic.ca