The PGA Tour Canada will hold a press conference at Sunningdale Golf and Country Club in London, Ont., next Monday to make a tournament announcement.
An official with the developmental circuit wouldn’t say Thursday exactly what the news would be other than to say it's about a tournament. There are two likely options: Sunningdale will stage a new PGA Tour Canada event or it will play host to the season-ending Tour Championship of Canada in September.
The tour, the successor circuit to the former Canadian Tour, has eight events on its schedule for 2013. The first seven all have names and venues.
Either way, it appears Canada’s top pro tour is coming to Sunningdale, a private club with two 18-hole courses. Stanley Thompson designed one of the 18s in the 1930s, Clinton (Robbie) Robinson the other about 30 years ago.
The club has played host to such notable events as the Canadian Amateur and the Canadian Junior for both boys and girls.
Jason Logan on ScoreGolf magazine’s website said a multiyear deal between the tour, course and a “blue-chip” local sponsor is in place.
The Tour Championship has been traditionally held in Ontario, moving around to various clubs. It was held last year at Scarboro Golf and Country, a Toronto course which also has classic bones.
COMING HOME: Graham DeLaet of Weyburn, Sask., plays on the PGA Tour but he hasn’t forgotten his roots.
The long bomber has agreed to be an honorary co-chairman of the PGA Tour of Canada’s Dakota Dunes Open in Saskatoon this year.
DeLaet last played regularly on the Canadian circuit in 2009, a year in which he won twice and led the money list. He had two career starts on the Dakota Dunes Classic.
He said he welcomes the chance to support the event and keep it in Saskatchewan for the long term. “I would love to see more Saskatchewan golfers have the same opportunity to play in front of hometown fans on their way to achieving their dreams,” he said in a news release.
Chief Darcy Bear of the Whitecap Dakota First Nation is the other co-chairman.
Meanwhile, DeLaet is continuing with his day job. He’s playing at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans this week and opened with a four-under-par 68. He was tied for 16th place entering the second round Friday.
DeLaet has made eight cuts in 11 starts this year on the PGA Tour, posting a pair of top-10 finishes and collecting more than $500,000 (U.S.).
TICK, TOC: Stephen Ames won the 2006 Players Championship but his chances of being in the field at this year’s edition of the PGA Tour’s flagship event are dwindling.
The field will be finalized late Sunday, except for one spot, after the Zurich Classic of New Orleans wraps up.
As pgatour.com notes, players who are not otherwise qualified for TPC Sawgrass need to be inside the top 50 of the world ranking or the top 10 of the FedEx Cup standing after play in New Orleans ends.
The winner of the Zurich Classic, which begins Thursday, also gets in.
Ames, who turns 49 next Monday, was exempt into the Players for the five years after he won in 2006 but didn’t qualify last year. With his world ranking now at No. 534 and sitting at 140th on the FedEx Cup ladder this year, a win this Sunday at TPC Louisiana seems his only route.
The Wells Fargo winner on May 5 earns the final spot.
The other Canadians in Louisiana this week face the same long odds as Ames. Graham DeLaet is Canada’s highest-ranking player but at No. 106 would most likely need to win, too.
Canadians Mike Weir, David Hearn and Brad Fritsch are also playing this week.
Other hopefuls this week, as pgatour.com notes, are 1998 Players champion Justin Leonard, 19-year-old Jordan Spieth, Camilo Villegas and Billy Horschel, who is riding the momentum of three consecutive top-10s and lives in Jacksonville Beach, Fla., near TPC Sawgrass.
NEWEST LINK: The building of a new golf course in Canada has become so rare that each one is worth noting, especially when one of Canada's pre-eminent designers is at the draft table.
Architect Thomas McBroom was in Halifax this week to reveal his plans for The Links at Brunello, a championship course which will be part of a new residential development, Brunello Estates, that is about 15 minutes from downtown Halifax.
The Links is to open in June of 2015.
“This course boasts stunning vistas and unexpected views, and is laid out on dramatic terrain that enables us to give golfers the ‘wow’ they’re looking for,” says Toronto-based McBroom, whose other Canadian gems include Tobiano in Kamloops and Oviinbyrd and Rocky Crest in Ontario His Atlantic Provinces contributions include Crowbush, Algonquin, Green Gables and Bell Bay.
PGA TICKETS DWINDLING: The PGA Championship, which this year will be played within a couple of hours of the Canadian border, has sold out of its daily tickets for the final three rounds. But day passes for the practice sessions and the opening round are still available, and some seven-day packages remain for sale, too.
Golf’s fourth major of the season will be played at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y., beginning Aug. 8.
FIVE SPOT: Albin Choi won his fifth U.S. college tournament of the season on Sunday to move within one victory of his school's record.
The North Carolina State junior from Toronto won the 36-hole Wolfpack Spring Open on his home course in Raleigh, N.C., by a stroke over Brinson Paolini of Duke. With a birdie on the final hole at Lonnie Pool Golf Club, Choi shot six-under-par 66 in the final round to surge ahead of Paolini and Clenson's Miller Capps, the first-round co-leaders.
Choi, who plans to skip his senior year and turn pro this summer, also won the Tar Heel Intercollegiate, Warrior Wave Intercollegiate, Puerto Rico Classic and USF Invitational this season. He's been outside the top six just once in 11 starts this season.
One more win and he ties the N.C. State record held by fellow Canadian Matt Hill of Sarnia, Ont. Hill also turned pro after his junior season, during which he won eight times.
Choi's next chance to get to 10 comes later this week at the ACC Men's Championship at Old North State Club in New London, N.C. The NCAA Regional and NCAA Championships are the final two events on the season schedule.
The latest victory also helps Choi's chances of winning the Ben Hogan Award. He was named one of the semi-finalists last week for the prize that goes to top male amateur and U.S. college player over the past 12 months.
ALL IN THE FAMILY: The RBC Heritage ended up being more like a company tournament. Graeme McDowell won the PGA Tour event in a playoff over Webb Simpson and Luke Donald climbed in the final round into third place. Both McDowell and Donald are sponsored by Royal Bank of Canada, the same Canadian financial institution that sponsors the tournament itself.
Among other RBC men, Jim Furyk, tied for 42nd place and Brandt Snedeker shared 59th.
But it wasn't all glory for Team RBC. Other-sponsored players Ernie Els, Stephen Ames and Graham DeLaet all missed the second-round cut and David Hearn failed to make the third-round cut.
Most, if not all, the RBC players are expected to play in late July at the RBC Canadian Open, the other Royal Bank-sponsored event on the PGA Tour.
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