Vancouver Golf Tour: Growing the Game
In 2012 we saw the PGA Tour introduce both the PGA Tour Latinoamerica and PGA Tour Canada. The latter being of personal interest as many here in Vancouver believed we would see the PGA Tour Canada make a stop in Vancouver when the 2013 schedule was released. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case as corporate Vancouver didn’t step up to the plate to continue the success had by the 2012 CN Canadian Women’s Open and 2011 RBC Canadian Open.
Fraser Mulholland has done what corporate Vancouver didn’t and stepped up to the plate by introducing the VGT Majors series. It is a proposed eight-tournament series across Vancouver with each event hosting purses between $80,000 to $100,000, a move that Mulholland hopes will attract players from the United States and give PGA Tour Canada members an opportunity to turn their 2013 eight-tournament season into a 16-tournament schedule with the inclusion of the majors series events.
The VGT Majors Series is an opportunity for aspiring professionals and a move that I hope other mini-tours across North America notice. It provides a place for the best up-and-coming talent to play and more importantly, it helps to grow the game by enabling more opportunities to get tournament experience than the typical college route. I applaud Fraser and the Vancouver Golf Tour for providing the framework that other tours hopefully emulate in the future.
Adam Hadwin will start his 2013 season on the Web.com Tour after missing his PGA Tour by one shot at the final stage of Q-School. It was current Tour player James Hahn who birdied No. 18 and decided Hadwin’s fate. It was a disappointing finish at Q-School, but Hadwin will be getting other opportunities this season to play on the Tour by way of Monday qualifiers and sponsors exemptions.
Hadwin is one of the top Canadian golfers, and one of the biggest success stories of the Vancouver Golf Tour. It was the VGT Tour that provided Hadwin a place to develop his game and play against some of the top professionals in British Columbia. In three seasons on the VGT Tour, Hadwin earned just under $40,000 and won six times. I anticipate that it’s only matter of time before he’s on the PGA Tour full-time, but in the interim you can see Hadwin in Callaway Golf commercials and out on the Web.com Tour.
The success Hadwin had on the VGT Tour has also been enjoyed by other top Canadians, Eugene Wong and Nick Taylor. Because the VGT pays the Q-School entry to the Order of Merit winner, and gives aspiring professionals the ability to play a full schedule of events at a fraction of the cost of other mini tours, I expect the list of VGT Tour graduates will continue to grow.