Canadian Golf Happenings – What Offseason?

Whoever assumed that after the Ryder Cup, the golf season is essentially over would have been sadly mistaken.

For golfers around the world, and at home on Canadian soil, the storylines heading into the final 10 weeks of 2012 are set to be full of dramatics.

There’s no off-season in golf (Image: snowgolf.ca)

While some of the PGA Tour’s biggest stars are globetrotting in search of the biggest appearance fee paycheques, there are many who are grinding it out on a variety of stages in order to take their respective games to the next level.

Here is a quick snapshot at a few of those stories –

The Future of the Canadian Tour

Come Thursday morning, the future of the Canadian Tour will be decided. The rumour mill is swirling, but many are reporting that the “old” Canadian Tour will become the PGA Tour of Canada and a feeder system into the Web.com Tour, along with the PGA Tour of Latinoamerica. This would be great news for a struggling Tour, both from a monetary and awareness perspective. The PGA Tour and Canadian Tour are scheduling a teleconference on Thursday to discuss further details either way. Here’s hoping it’s something positive.

PGA TOUR Top 125

This is the final year of traditional Q-School so finishing in the coveted top 125 on the money list before the year’s last event at Disney is more important than ever. There are some big names hovering outside the bubble, but two Canadians remain safely inside the magic number – David Hearn and Graham DeLaet. The PGA Tour’s website is keeping a live projected money list page going up until the end of the year here, if you want to follow along.

Web.com Tour Top 25

Quite the exciting last few weeks for Ottawa-native Brad Fritsch, who was holding a share of the lead in two straight events, but struggled slightly on the weekends to fall back out of contention. That said, Fritsch is currently at no.22 on the Web.com Tour money list, and the top 25 at the end of the season in a few weeks will receive their  PGA Tour card. After missing the cut last week, Fritsch will need to play well down the stretch to stay within the top 25, as he is only $12,000 ahead of no.25. Other Canadians Adam Hadwin and Richard Scott are no’s 47 and 48 respectively and need big weeks in order to crack the top 25; however, they are in great position to regain Web.com Tour status for next year.

Canucks at Q-School

ScoreGolf Magazine has set up a great tracker to follow along with all the Canadians who are attempting to get to the PGA Tour via Q-School, the final year that this grind-it-out method will be used. Many Canucks are in great position at their respective qualifier sites to move on to the second stage including two-time Canadian Amateur champion Mackenzie Hughes, former Big Break champion David Byrne and Big Break finalist Kent Eger, and Eugene Wong, who won three professional starts in a row this summer.

OUA Golf Championships

The Ontario University Athletics golf championships took place earlier this week at Grey Silo Golf Club in Waterloo, host of this year’s LPGA Manulife Financial Classic. The Toronto Varsity Blues took the women’s title for the second time in four years, and the Western Mustangs won on the men’s side. Chris Hemmerich from Guelph, who finished as runner-up in the Canadian Men’s Amateur championship this summer, along with making it into the field at the U.S. Amateur, took the men’s individual honour at -5 (137) over the two days. At only 20 years old, Hemmerich will likely be a force at the OUA & CIS levels for at least a few more years. Based on the excitement of the Guelph coach, Brendan McLeod, you can expect the Gryphon’s to put forth a great effort next year at the National Championships.

City of Toronto’s Golf Course Struggles

The Toronto Star published this piece on Tuesday after a report was released by the City further examining the financial situations of the five municipal golf courses. Each of these courses hold a soft-spot in my heart, having grown up playing all of them, Dentonia Park & Don Valley especially. I was sad to see how much Dentonia had deteriorated in quality after returning there this summer after many years. But, given how busy Don Valley is through the summer, my assumption is that it makes up for the other struggling properties. The numbers reported don’t seem as drastic as intended, as after mentioning pretty severe dips in net profits, the projected net profits for 2012 are north of $1.3 million. Regardless, each of the golf courses provide City of Toronto residents with countless benefits that condominiums or other solutions (see: parking lot, grocery store, Wal-Mart) can not. Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday admitted in the piece that the courses just aren’t marketed as well as they could be, and that should be step one in order to help turn the fortunes of these golf courses around.

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