The COVID-19 pandemic has silenced another in a long list of Island sporting events and leagues that were scheduled for this spring and summer.
The Mackenzie Tour - PGA Tour Canada is postponing the first six tournaments of its 2020 season, including the DC Bank Open presented by the Times Colonist, scheduled for June 4-7 at Uplands Golf Club.
“We are working hard with the Tour to hold it at a later date to be decided,” said Keith Dagg, director of the Victoria tournament.
“If there is a Tour, we will be in it.”
The Victoria pro tournament has been held annually since 1981. If it is played this year, sources say it will be in September.
“It would be a shame for our tournament to go away,” Dagg said, vowing that will not happen: “Even if it is off this year, we will go for next year. It’s definitely not going away.”
Dagg said Uplands has been consulted about the postponement.
“They realize this is a one-off situation and are happy to help out,” he said.
Scott Pritchard, Mackenzie Tour - PGA Tour Canada vice-president, concurred: “Uplands has been fantastic. All the courses have been flexible and understanding. This has affected all facets of life.”
The other tour events postponed are the Canada Life Open in Vancouver (May 28-31), the GolfBC Championship in Kelowna (June 11-14), the Paradise Canyon Open in Lethbridge, Alta., (June 25-28), the Prince Edward Island Pro-Am in Cardigan (July 2-5) and the Osprey Valley Open in Caledon, Ont., (July 9-12).
The Mackenzie Tour - PGA Tour Canada feeds into the Korn Ferry Tour, which in turn feeds into the PGA Tour.
“We’re part of a great big family, so our Tour had to wait to see what the PGA Tour was doing,” said Dagg.
The PGA Tour on Thursday announced a restart date of June 8 with an extension of the season into the fall.
“I am optimistic that the PGA Tour plans on going ahead and playing this year,” Dagg said. “That makes me hopeful that we can still have our tournament later this year.”
The Mackenzie Tour - PGA Tour Canada qualifying tournament scheduled for April 28 to May 1 at Crown Isle in Courtenay has also been postponed.
The Mackenzie Tour said it expects to make more announcements in the next couple of weeks with additional information about the 2020 schedule, as well as qualifying tournament sites and dates.
A perk of the Victoria tournament was a berth into the PGA Tour’s RBC Canadian Open for the winner. It was announced Thursday, however, that the RBC Canadian Open, scheduled for June 11-14 at St. George’s Golf Club in Ontario, has been cancelled.
The DC Bank Victoria Open joins a growing list of major Island sports events affected by the pandemic. The Canada men’s soccer games against Trinidad and Tobago, considered key for 2022 World Cup Qatar qualifying in CONCACAF and scheduled for last month at Westhills Stadium in Langford, were cancelled. So, too, the annual Times Colonist 10K that was scheduled for this month.
The annual Stars on Ice, featuring former world championship and Olympic figure skating medallists, has been cancelled. It had been scheduled for May 12 at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre. The Canada Sevens women’s rugby tournament, planned for May 2-3 at Westhills Stadium, has also been postponed.
The Canadian Little League baseball championship set for Aug. 6-16 at Layrtiz Park is in serious jeopardy, while the Olympic basketball qualifying tournament, originally scheduled for June 23-28 at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre, was rescheduled to next summer after the Games were pushed back to 2021.
The Western Lacrosse Association, which includes the Victoria Shamrocks and Nanaimo Timbermen, and pro Canadian Premier League of soccer, including Island-based Pacific FC, have postponed the starts of their seasons.
The remainder of the Victoria Royals’ Western Hockey League season, including playoffs, was cancelled. The B.C. Hockey League and Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League were scrubbed mid-stride in the playoffs.
The West Coast League of baseball, which includes the Victoria HarbourCats, has yet to make an announcement.