When he joined the Flagstick TeeTalk Podcast a few weeks ago, Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada Executive Director Scott Pritchard was still hopeful that their circuit would be able to manage a schedule of play for 2020.
The ever-changing environment due to the Covid-19 pandemic has made that out of reach.
Today the TOUR announced that their plans for this year have been shelved.
With travel restrictions in place, including at the U.S./Canada border, as well as mandatory quarantines and varying regulations in the multiple provinces in which they play, the TOUR has thrown in the towel in favour of re-focusing on 2021.
“With growing uncertainty surrounding the border and the 14-day quarantine regulations, among other factors, we’ve weighed all of our options and concluded that it is not feasible to play this summer,” said Mackenzie Tour Executive Director Scott Pritchard in a media release.
“With the safety of the communities we play in mind, as well as the well-being of our players, sponsors, tournament-organizing committees, volunteers and golf course staff, we came to the realization that this is the best decision for everyone involved.
“We also wanted to be considerate of our players and their desires to play golf,” Pritchard added. “Understanding the complexities that this pandemic has caused, we knew it wasn’t fair to leave our members in positions that might prevent them from pursuing other playing opportunities elsewhere while waiting to see what transpired in Canada.”
The 2020 season was set to be a notable one for the circuit – thirteen events were scheduled, the most since the PGA TOUR took over the tour. They had also planned to dip back into the United States for an event in Minnesota.
It will all have to wait for now.
“We had built a lot of momentum coming into this season, and we were excited to continue making a positive impact in the communities where we play, while also providing opportunities for our players to progress to the PGA TOUR,” continued Pritchard. “Our commitment to our tournaments and their local communities, as well as our players, is unwavering, and we’re going to use this time to come back stronger in 2021.”
Tournament Directors for various events also weighed in one the decision on Friday.
Craig Loughry, who is leading the Ontario Open, a new addition to the Tour schedule, commented. “Working closely with the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada we fully support the decision to cancel the 2020 season,” said Loughry. “Our primary responsibility is the safety of the local community, and we feel like this is the best decision for everybody.”
“Our commitment to the community and the Ontario Open is unwavering and we are going to work hard towards putting on another strong community-based event in 2021,” added Loughry.
Brad Parkins of the event hosted by the TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley concurred. “While we are disappointed that there will not be an Osprey Valley Open this year, we have full confidence in the Tour’s decision and believe that this was the right choice for the safety of everyone involved,” said Parkins.
Players have been notified of the decision as well as the how the news will affect eligibility for 2021. The 2019 season will be utilized to determine status.
In addition the players who qualified through the three qualifying schools already conducted in 2020 were maintain their eligibility earned while those who were entered for the remaining 2020 Q-Schools will have their spots held for Q-School in 2021.