While the PGA Tour, European Tour and LPGA Tour are all looking ahead to restarting play, the Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada has pulled the plug for 2020.
The cross-country tour for up-and-coming pros won’t go ahead this year, largely due to the restrictions on border crossings and the need to quarantine for 14 days. That’s made it extremely difficult for players from the United States and other countries to get into Canada in a way that would make playing financially viable.
“The 14-day quarantine was a really big blow,” said Scott Pritchard, the tour’s executive director. “Players would need to do that and then need some time to get their games in shape. By that point we had to ask how many events we’d be able to get in. At the end of the day, we felt the only decision was to cancel the season.”
The move comes after the circuit, owned and operated by the PGA Tour, had built extensive momentum with a 13-event schedule including stops from B.C. to PEI. That’s the most events in the tour’s history.
The first seven stops, as well as a series of qualifying schools, were postponed at the start of the pandemic. A condensed schedule with fewer events was planned for later in the summer, but as the restrictions on international as well as inter-provincial travel remained in place, it became too difficult to put together a schedule.
“It’s sad for everyone,” added Pritchard. “The tournaments, our sponsors and partners, and especially the players. But the landscape has changed across all tours.”
The Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada rewards top finishers with spots on the Korn Ferry Tour. More than 200 players from the Canadian tour have advanced to the Korn Ferry.
A professional golf tour in Canada has been in place in various forms since the 1960s. Top Canadians such as Dave Barr, Dan Halldorson, Moe Norman and Mike Weir learned their skills on it. It’s also been a stop for international golfers such as Steve Stricker, Chris DiMarco, Stuart Appleby and Tony Finau.
The PGA Tour took over the Canadian circuit in 2012, and has grown it as a developmental process along with similar tours in Latin America and China.