The PGA Tour Canada filled in the remaining blanks on its 2013 schedule on Monday when it announced a venue and a main financial backer for its flagship event.
The season-ending Tour Championship of Canada will be played at the historic Sunningdale Golf and Country Club in London, Ont., and sponsored by Freedom 55 Financial, a division of London Life Insurance Co.
The venue and sponsor were the only missing pieces in the development circuit’s eight-event season, which begins in June in Victoria and works its way eastward through the summer.
Jeff Monday , the tour’s president, said the season finale will stay at Sunningdale for at least three years. “When you have a quality venue that works well for a tournament, it’s best to keep it there and build upon that, rather than starting anew each year,” Monday said at media conference at 80-year-old Sunningdale.
In London Life, the tour is aligning itself with the city’s most enduring company. It’s been around for more than 135 years.
The PGA Tour took over the former Canadian Tour last year and renamed it PGA Tour Canada.
The Tour Championship has been held in recent years throughout Ontario, with stops in cities such as Barrie, Windsor and, last year, Toronto. London represents a mid-sized market that lower-tier tours often do better in.
“We think that’s the right market,” Monday said.
The Tour Championship, which begins Sept. 12, will be conducted by Golf Canada, the national governing body that also runs such elite events as the RBC Canadian Open, CN Canadian Women’s Open and the national amateur championships.
The field of 132 will compete on Sunningdale’s Robinson course, the younger of the two 18s that was designed by Robbie Robinson. With such a limited schedule, a lot could be on the line during the final round, and not just the top prize in the $150,000 purse.
The top five on the tour’s money list after the Tour Championship get tickets to the PGA Tour’s second-tier circuit, the Web.com Tour, for 2014.
Meanwhile, the tour’s search for an umbrella sponsor continues. It would like to find a financial backer like the PGA Tour’s other development circuit, the PGA Tour Latinoamerica, has done with NEC Corp.
“The most important consideration is making sure we get the right company with the right fit,” Monday said. “These types of searches take time.”