PGA Tour Canada announced Tuesday, at the Upper Canada Golf Course, that PGA Tour professional Brad Fritsch is the Honourary Chairman of the Great Waterway Classic tournament to be played at the Upper Canada course this coming, August 19-25.
An Ottawa area native, Fritsch said via teleconference that, “I am pleased to throw my support behind the Great Water Classic. The launch of PGA Tour Canada is great for golf and players alike. The time I spent on the Tour was instrumental to my development as a professional. I am confident the Tour and the Great Waterway Classic will showcase the talents of the players to the many golf enthusiasts across the country and especially in the Great Waterway Region.”
“We are delighted to have Brad throw his support behind the event,” said Brad Parkins, Chief Operations Officer at Canadian Junior Golf Association and Tournament Director for the Great Waterway Classic.
“This is an exciting day for me,” said Fritsch. “It has been a long time since I have been able to be involved in a professional tournament in the Ottawa area. I am excited to support the Great Waterway Classic.”
Also excited to join the game is the Cornwall Hospital Foundation which was named Tuesday as the official Charity of the Great Waterway Project. As the official charity, the Foundation will receive proceeds from supplementary events, a portion of the gate proceeds and proceeds from additional fundraising initiatives.
“We want to thank you for coming to our community,” said Connie Vardy, Executive director of the Cornwall Hospital Foundation. Vardy explained that when she first came to the area she learned that there are two things people really care about. “The first thing people really care about is their hospital. The second thing they care about is their golf. So this is a terrific marriage. We really feel honoured. We appreciate the dollars and we will use them wisely.”
Scott Pritchard, Director, Tournament Business Affairs at PGA Tour Canada said PGA Tour Canada is excited to come back to the Waterway Classic area.
He remarked on the success of the PGA Tour Canada’s inaugural event, the Times Colonist Savings Open played June 3-June 9 in Victoria, British Columbia and won by Marysville, Ohio’s Stephen Gangluff.
The Great Waterways Classic scheduled for August 19-25 at the Upper Canada Golf Course is the seventh tournament on the 2013 PGA Tour Canada Schedule. The schedule began with the Qualifying tournament in Beaumont, California April 7-12.
Next up from June 17-23 is the ATB Financial Classic in Calgary, Alberta.
PGA Tour Canada is a men’s professional golf tour headquartered in Oakville. It formally started in 1970, and became the Canadian Profession Golf Tour in 1986.
The U.S. PGA Tour took over the operation of the tour last November, 2012, at which time it was renamed PGA Tour Canada.
Over the years, this tour has had many players go on to PGA Tour success including 2003 Master champion Mike Weir and 2005 U.S. Open winner Michael Campbell.
Under the new system, the top five players on PGA Tour Canada Order of Merit will earn Web.com Tour cards and the next five are exempt through to the finals of Qualifying school.
“Our first event in Victoria , B.C. this past weekend was very well received,” said Pritchard. “The players were all happy and we had record crowds and record ticket sales.”
The Tour has raised millions of dollars for charities since its inception.
Pritchard said that fans can expect to see top notch professionals at the Waterway Classic at Upper Canada and both fans and players will appreciate the all new signage and leader boards.
Under the PGA Tour Canada stamp, players and fans alike can expect a bigger field (than last year’s first Waterway Classic event played at Smuggler’s Glen at Gananoque). Roped and staked tees and greens will provide a more big league feel.
“We have invested a lot into our infrastructure and the level of competition will be unmatched this year,” said Pritchard.
Also speaking at the news conference were Christa Doyle on behalf of the Great Waterway Classic, Allen McNairn on behalf of the Upper Canada Golf Course, and Susan Leclair on behalf of the St. Lawrence Parks Commission which operates the Upper Canada Golf Course.
McNairn and Upper Canada Golf Course superintendant Randy Leclair were commended on the work being completed on the course.
“We are very much looking forward to hosting this event,” said McNairn. “There is a lot of work that has gone into this, and we are continuing with the work.”
On behalf of the St. Lawrence Parks Commission, Susan Leclair, Corporate Marketing and Development officer, said “We are thrilled that our golf course is going to be hosting the Great Waterway Classic.”
Leclair also issued a warm invite to Brad Fritsch, that if he has the opportunity, to come and play the Upper Canada Golf Course, which he admitted earlier he has not had the pleasure of playing.