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Short Game: Cross PGA Championship off your bucket list

Golf fans, even casual ones, should see at least one major championship in person during their lives. But for Canadians, that's tricky. One of the majors (Open Championship) is contested overseas and another (Masters) is held at an almost impenetrable fortress (unless you're very well connected). The other two (U.S. Open and PGA Championship) move from city to city across the United States, often far from the 49th parallel.

The sites this year, for example, were in Lytham St Annes, England, Augusta, Ga., San Francisco and Kiawah Island, S.C. – all places that would require a significant amount of time, effort and money for Canadians to reach.

But 2013 offers a reprieve for us northerners, at least those living in central Canada. The final major of the season is especially close.

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The 95th PGA Championship is scheduled for the East Course at venerable Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y.

The upstate New York club is an easy drive from Canada, three hours or less from the Golden Horseshoe in Ontario, which includes the Niagara region and the densely populated Greater Toronto Area.

Rochester is about five hours from Ottawa, and six from Montreal.

The tournament week is scheduled for Aug. 5 through 11. Ticket are still available and affordable, relative to other major sporting events.

Tournament director Ryan Cannon, who works for organizer PGA of America, passed through Toronto recently to remind fans (and corporate interests) that opportunity is knocking.

"The opportunity is here," Cannon said over coffee. "It's affordable, it's easy. It's one of those things you don't want to miss."

Spoken like a promoter, but it's hard to argue his point. PGA Championship tickets are there for the taking.

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Cannon said more than half of the available tickets have been sold, which still leaves plenty available. But he cautioned not to wait until the last minute.

He expects a chunk of the remaining tickets will be sold over the next month or so as golf fans start thinking about Christmas gifts or their plans for 2013 excursions.

"You're going to want to make a decision sooner rather than later," Cannon said.

He added the tournament doesn't necessarily need Canadian fans to achieve a sell-out but he reached across the border anyway to not only make Canadians aware of the close proximity of Oak Hill, which has staged the PGA three previous times, but to extend the PGA of America's mission to build the game.

If the opportunity isn't enough enticement, perhaps the price tag is. A week pass costs $285 (all currency U.S.). A single-day ticket for a competitive round goes for $75 and a practice round ticket is $35 a day.

Each paying adult is allowed to bring up to four children aged 17 and under each day, making the tournament a deal for families. The easiest way to purchase tickets is through the PGA's website,

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"Time to purchase tickets," the website says. That's good advice for anyone with a major championship on his or her bucket list.

RELATED LINK: More blogs from Jeff Brooke


The Short Game blog is a compilation of small news stories, statistics and analysis from the wide world of golf, with a focus on Canadian content. Jeff Brooke has written about golf for The Globe and Mail since his first assignment at the 2007 Masters.

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