By Brent Long
If you dare to dream, there is the possibility that it will become reality.
That was the theme at Tuesday’s media launch for the Sotheby’s International Realty Canada Ontario Open that kicks off Thursday through Sunday, July 28 to 31, at the beautiful Legend course at Woodington Lake Golf Club in Tottenham, ON.
In a game-changing partnership Golf Ontario, PGA Tour Canada, Woodington Lake Golf Club and new title sponsor Sotheby’s International Realty Canadahave joined forces to bring the tournament that dates back to 1923 back to life and hopefully take it to the next level in years to come.
“It is super excited with Sotheby’s International Realty Canada coming on as title sponsor. We have been talking about bringing Ontario Open back for many years as Tournament Director Craig Loughry knows,” Mike Kelly, Executive Director of Golf Ontario said during an interview at the extraordinary Dare to Dream Garage within the corporate enclave of Sotheby’s parent company Peerage Capital Group in North York.
“I don’t think we could have ever dreamed of bringing it back with a partner like Sotheby’s, with a golf course host like Woodington Lake and to be on a PGA Tour Canada schedule, those dreams came to reality and for us to see that unfold starting on Thursday is impactful,” Kelly added, noting the tournament was not held from 1997 to 2018, was played in 2019 at Woodington Lake and then the Covid-19 pandemic sidelined it in 2020 and 2021.
The tournament isn’t just about golf, Scott Pritchard Executive Director of PGA TOUR Canadasaid noting there’s also a significant social aspect with great food, friendships and summertime fun, while supporting local charity partner, Matthews House, a community hospice in Alliston not far from Woodington Lake. He noted that three of the four tournaments on the PGA Tour Canada schedule this season have gone to a playoff and that 54 players have from the tour have gone on to play on the PGA Tour including Tony Finau who played in Canada in 2013 and won again this past week on the PGA Tour at the 3M Open Classic.
For his part, Don Kottick, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada CEO couldn’t be more excited by the partnership. Golf has been on the upswing since COVID-19 hit and it seems like everyone is playing golf – especially Millennials and Baby Boomers – two of the major players in the real estate market.
“When I heard there was an opportunity for Sotheby’s to be the title sponsor for the Ontario Open, I thought what an amazing opportunity. Then, when I heard that the Ontario Open had been in hiatus for 21 years, I thought what a great opportunity for two great brands to come together,” Kottick said. “For those of you who do not know, Sotheby’s has been around since 1784. It’s one of the oldest brands in the world. It’s an iconic brand. Then obviously, the PGA Tour and the re-emergence of the Ontario Open appealed to me as something that we had to do.”
Toronto’s Chris Wilson, a rookie on the PGA Tour Canada circuit, has been dreaming of winning a major golf tournament since he gave up hockeydue to injuries as a 15-year-old and found a new passion – golf.
Two weeks ago in the Prince Edward Island Open, Wilson held the 54-hole lead in the fourth tournament on the PGA Tour Canada schedule and ended up losing by just 1 shot, but his 18-under score for four rounds puts him on the verge of making another of his dreams come true.
The 27-year-old said it would be incredible to win the Ontario Open and have his name on a trophy with the likes of Sam Snead, Moe Norman, George Knudson and many other legends of the game, Wilson said.
“If you have the drive or desire to do something you just have to stick with it and your hard work and dreams will pay off as long as you love it,” Wilson said about his beliefs and motivation that has gotten him this far. We’ll see where it takes him this weekend and beyond.