New tour hasn't reached out to local organizer

MARK HUNTER / Kamloops Daily News
November 9, 2012 01:00 AM

The man who helped put on the 2011 Western Championship professional golf tournament isn't holding out much hope that a revamped tour will bring a return of the event next summer.

Terry Grimm, who chaired the 2011 Western Championship, said Thursday that he has had "no contact" with anyone from the PGA Tour Canada since it took control of the Canadian Tour on Nov. 1.

"I haven't heard from anyone there," Grimm said.

PGA Tour Canada is the new name for the Canadian Tour, with the PGA Tour having taken over its operational aspects.

The Western Championship was Kamloops' first try at a full Canadian Tour event. Held at Rivershore Golf Links from June 9-12, 2011, it was won by Roger Sloan of Merritt.

The Canadian Tour has long hoped to establish a full-time event in Kamloops, as it is an obvious stop between tournaments in Victoria and Northern Alberta. The tour fronted the Western Championship's $125,000 purse for the 2011 tournament, but left the local organizing committee to find sponsorship money for further tournaments.

Grimm beat the bushes, but couldn't come up with any sponsorship, and the Canadian Tour went without the tournament in 2012. In its place, the Tour held an unofficial pro-am tournament at Sun Rivers on June 14-15.

The tour had eight official tournaments in 2012, with stops in Victoria, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Windsor, Toronto and Gananoque, Ont.

After the season, the PGA Tour announced that it was taking over operational control of the Canadian Tour and renaming it PGA Tour Canada.

Play on the PGA Tour Canada will begin in 2013, according to a news release, with a minimum of eight tournaments, each offering a minimum purse of $150,000. The tour eventually hopes to grow to "12 or 13 events" in Canada throughout the summer months.

Possibility for growth remains in the Greater Vancouver area, as well as B.C.'s Interior.

"I haven't had any contact with them," Grimm said, adding that "I suspect I would have gotten a call" if the revamped tour was interested in returning to town.

With about $300,000 needed to be raised for another Western Championship to be held in Kamloops, Grimm isn't at all confident the tournament could run next summer, or possibly ever again.

"I think it's dead in the water," he said.

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