Canadian Tour to turn into feeder system

U.S. captain Davis Love III attends a news conference after arriving for the 39th Ryder Cup golf...

U.S. captain Davis Love III attends a news conference after arriving for the 39th Ryder Cup golf matches at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Illinois, September 24, 2012. (Reuters/JEFF HAYNES)

TIM MCKAY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:06 PM ET

The Canadian Tour's working relationship with the PGA Tour, established at the end of last year, is set to go a step further.

The U.S.-based tour is expected to announce Thursday that it is taking over operations of its smaller sibling -- which could be a boon for its players.

It is expected the Canadian Tour will become a feeder system for the Web.com Tour, which in turn is becoming the only direct route to the world's top series.

The Canadian Tour likely will go the route of the Tour des la Americas, which became the PGA Tour Latinoamerica last year. That series debuted last month and its 128 players are vying for five spots on the Web.com Tour. The top two finishers on the Canadian Tour this season got a free pass to the second stage of qualifying school for the Web.com and the PGA.

The Canadian Tour had been struggling financially and having trouble maintaining a full schedule before its agreement with the PGA Tour for 2012. With its 10-year agreement with Golf Channel expiring at the end of 2010, the Canadian Tour couldn't overcome the $600,000 annual shortfall.

Canadian Tour commissioner Rick Janes forged a working relationship with the PGA Tour, which became involved, first at an arm's length, with operations, sponsorship and finances.

As part of its agreement, it also had the option at the end of this season to absorb the Canadian Tour to become a division under the PGA umbrella.

Jeff Monday, the senior vice-president of tournament development for the PGA Tour, had been at all of the Canadian events this season doing due diligence and it was his recommendation on which his board voted Monday.

"I would say the people doing the due diligence are bullish," Janes told QMI Agency's Doug Graham last month. "Clearly, Canada is a very mature golfing market. It makes an enormous amount of sense and it particularly fits into (what the PGA Tour is doing with the) Latin American tour."

While having a domestic tour is great for players and golf in this country, many international players also use it as a springboard. For them it's a welcome move

"It would definitely be good for this tour and the development for all players," Sarnia's Matt Hill told QMI Agency at last month's Great Waterway Classic.

Hill wrapped up the Order of Merit this season to get one of two tickets to the second stage of Q-school and was selected the tour's player of the year.

"Obviously, if you have the PGA Tour name in there, it makes it easier and more beneficial to get sponsorships," he said. "Everybody is on for it."

No Love lost

Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III says he's ready to put all the second-guessing and criticism behind him and get back to business.

And the 48-year-old wants to keep doing it on the world's top tour, too.

"My goal now is I'm off the board, I'm not the Ryder Cup captain," Love said Wednesday at his home tournament, the McGladrey Classic in Sea Island, Ga. "Next year should be great. I should have no distractions. So I'm excited about next season.

"Vijay (Singh, 49) and I played three days last week and talked about not going on the Champions Tour. We want to beat these guys. We're not even thinking -- everybody else is asking me and Vijay, when are you going on the Champions Tour, and I'm thinking how do I get as many wins as Vijay? Vijay is thinking how do I get as many wins as Phil (Mickelson)? So we want to keep going out here. We're competitive."

To heck with just being competitive, though, Love still thinks he can hang with the best.

"It's a sense of pride," he said. "But there's a lot of money to play for. I've never won a FedExCup. I'd like to get back in the top in the world rankings. I'm still motivated."

Blixt driven

It's always fun to hear the stories of struggle before pro golfers make it big, to hear they were just like us before they started earning huge cheques.

Last week's winner, Jonas Blixt, who cashed in winnings of $900,000 at the Frys.com Open to bring his season total over the $2-million mark, was candid about his trials while on the Web.com Tour during his news conference Wednesday at this week's McGladrey Classic, much of it revolving around his car.

The 28-year-old Swede lived above a Florida family's garage, he said, and one time when he was away for five weeks, his landlord took his Ford Mustang to New York without telling him. Another time before a five-week absence, Blixt said, he forgot to roll up the car's windows, "so I'm still trying to get my car together."

Looks like he can afford a new one now.

tim.mckay@sunmedia.ca

On the tee

PGA Tour

McGladrey Classic

Sea Island Resort, Seaside Course (7,005 yards, par 70), St. Simons Island, Ga.

* Canadians David Hearn (108th on money list) and Stephen Ames (185th) in the field.

LPGA Tour

Hanabank Championship

Sky 72 Golf Club, Ocean Course (6,364 yards, par 72), Incheon, South Korea

* Michelle Wie and Tiger Woods' niece, Cheyenne Woods, playing on sponsor's exemptions

European Tour

Perth International

Lake Karrinyup Country Club (7,143 yards, par 72), Perth, Australia.

* Inaugural event on course where Ernie Els set Euro tour's scoring record in relation to par at 29-under in 2003.


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