Ask Jeff Monday his feelings regarding Victoria and Uplands Golf Club and the PGA Tour Canada commissioner lays down his answer as smoothly as Andrew Roque rolled his ball in the final round of last year’s Times Colonist Island Savings Open.
“Awesome and awesome,” Monday said, following his Tuesday visit to Vancouver Island. “Victoria is certainly a special place, not just from a scenic perspective, which is pretty obvious.
“The community is very close-knit, very supportive of things. They seem to appreciate events and hopefully the golf tournament is one of those.
“They know how hard Keith [Dagg, the tournament co-chairman] and Murray [Thomas, tournament director] and the group works, with the support of the Times Colonist and Islands Savings and the rest of the sponsors there. The tournament is well placed within the community and hopefully, with the addition of the PGA Tour presence and affiliation, we can take it to another level.”
Monday said Uplands is historically one of the favourite courses of the players on the former Canadian Tour, which now falls under the umbrella of the PGA Tour.
“It’s short by today’s standards, but it shows you that length isn’t everything,” Monday said of Uplands. “There is a lot of strategy involved and it’s always nice to have the players think about what they’re doing rather than get up there and hit it as far as they can and try and find it.”
Monday was in Victoria discussing plans for the 2013 stop, which is set for June 3-9.
“It’s the inaugural event for PGA Tour Canada and we all want to make it a celebration,” he said. “They had a lot of great ideas on how they want to kick it off. They have a great team and the volunteer support is tremendous.”
The local event is the first of eight that will span the country.
PGA Tour Canada recently added the Great Waterway Classic, set for Aug. 19-25 at Upper Canada Golf Course in southeastern Ontario.
“We were also fortunate to add a tournament in Cape Breton so we will be going coast to coast, but we would love to tie in an event in Vancouver with the tournament in Victoria, and we’d love to add another in the Maritimes and also establish a presence in Quebec in the future,” said Monday, who ultimately hopes to have 12-13 stops on the schedule.
They would run from late May through September, complementing PGA Tour Latinoamerica.
“We could bring it all under the PGA Tour brand with both providing the opportunity to play your way onto the Web.Com Tour,” said Monday.
The top five money earners on PGA Tour Canada will earn Web.Com Tour status after this season and the next five will advance to the final round of the Web.Com qualifying school.
“One of the things that we were really impressed with when we were trying to better understand the [Canadian] tour last year was the appreciation and allegiance the former Canadian Tour players had to the tour,” said Monday, who was in Victoria last year when Roque won with an incredible final-round 61.
“We want to emphasize the experience inside the ropes and outside the ropes and get the players engaged in a lot of different areas,” said Monday. “Appreciating what the volunteers do, understanding what the tournaments do. Interacting with sponsors and media and getting involved during tournament week.
“Those things are just as much a part of your experience as when you’re out there trying to shoot 64.”
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