Mackenzie Tour announces four-event Canada Life series
TORONTO —With the official Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada sidelined this season due to issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tour announced Friday that it will hold a series of four tournaments for players residing in Canada. The tournaments are set for Langford, British Columbia, and Caledon, Ontario, in August and September, all events contested under the direction of the Mackenzie Tour and its staff.
The Canada Life Series will feature two 54-hole events at Bear Mountain Golf & Tennis Resort Community in Langford on Vancouver Island and two more at TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley. Fields will consist of Canadian professionals and elite amateurs, as well as Mackenzie Tour members, regardless of citizenship, who are already in Canada. Officials anticipate field sizes between 90 and 120 players, with purses set at $50,000 (CAD) per event.
Exempt players for the Canada Life Series will include any Canadian professional who has held status on any of the PGA TOUR’s International Tours since 2018 (Mackenzie Tour, PGA TOUR Latinoamérica and PGA TOUR Series-China). In addition, six sponsor exemptions will be used by Golf Canada for its national team members. Canada Life will receive two sponsor exemptions, while both host facilities will have two sponsor exemptions each. The Tour will fill the fields on a first-come-first-served basis if the exempt categories don’t reach their limits.
“It was certainly disappointing when circumstances surrounding COVID-19 required us to cancel the 2020 Mackenzie Tour season. We were poised for a great summer of golf, but we never lost sight of the purpose for this Tour, which is to give players opportunities to play tournaments on quality golf courses,” said Scott Pritchard, Mackenzie Tour Executive Director. “Canada Life has been an incredible partner in helping us put this together, and with two terrific venues—Bear Mountain and TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley—we will stage four exceptional tournaments.
“To be able to promise the top player from the Canada Life Series additional playing opportunities next season on the Mackenzie Tour only enhances what we’re trying to do, and we’re extremely pleased that will happen,” Pritchard continued.
The player who earns the most points during the four tournaments will be granted conditional Mackenzie Tour status and guaranteed six tournament starts on the 2021 Mackenzie Tour. In addition to those playing opportunities, Golf Canada will also award the top player a spot in the 2021 RBC Canadian Open. The players finishing in the second-through-fifth positions on the final points standings earn conditional 2021 Mackenzie Tour status along with two guaranteed Mackenzie Tour tournament starts. The players finishing between Nos. 6-10 earn a discounted rate into one of the 2021 Mackenzie Tour Qualifying Tournaments.
“At Canada Life, we believe in helping Canadians achieve their potential. The Canada Life Series is one way we can do that,” said Jeff Macoun, President and Chief Operating Officer, Canada, at Canada Life. “We’re very proud to be able to provide Canadian-based players the opportunity to advance their careers.”
The first two Canada Life Series tournaments will be at Bear Mountain’s two courses, both designed by World Golf Hall of Famer Jack Nicklaus and his son Steve. The Canada Life Series at Bear Mountain: Mountain Course is from August 10-12, while The Canada Life Series at Bear Mountain: Valley Course is August 17-19.
The Mountain Course has twice hosted PGA TOUR-affiliated golf, the PGA TOUR Champions’ 2016 and 2017 Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship. Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie won the 2016 event, while American Jerry Kelly prevailed a year later.
“Bear Mountain’s two courses are quite diverse, and Jack and Steve designed them in such a way that we think the tournaments will certainly have different feels to them while at the same time providing excellent tests of golf,” said Rob Larocque, Bear Mountain Director of Golf.
The Series will observe a one-week break, allowing players to travel to the other side of the country for the final two events, outside Toronto. The Canada Life Series at TPC Toronto’s links-style Heathlands course is set for September 2-4. The following week, September 9-11, the players will once again tackle the Heathlands, one of three signature Doug Carrick courses at TPC Toronto, for the Series’ closing event, the Canada Life Series Championship.
TPC Toronto is also no stranger to PGA TOUR-affiliated tournament golf. It has been home to the Mackenzie Tour’s Osprey Valley Open presented by Votarantim Cimentos – CBM Aggregates since 2018, with the eventual Mackenzie Tour Player of the Year in each season winning both editions of the tournament—Tyler McCumber in 2018 followed by Paul Barjon in 2019. McCumber is currently a PGA TOUR member, and Barjon is playing on the Korn Ferry Tour.
“The Mackenzie Tour is a familiar and important partner of ours, and we’re thrilled to be hosting two Canada Life Series tournaments here in September. We look forward to seeing some outstanding players compete on the Heathlands and follow in the footsteps of Tyler, Paul and the other champions who have played here over the last two years,” said TPC Toronto President Chris Humeniuk.
“It was gratifying to see TPC Toronto enthusiastically embrace this concept. We planned to play the Heathlands for the 2020 Osprey Valley Open, and we will now use the Canada Life Series events as a chance to showcase this spectacular course to these players,” Pritchard added.