Scott Smith says the PGA Tour Canada’s Thunder Bay Golf Classic has been an easy sell so far.
Smith, who’s heading the charge to return professional golf to the city for the first time since 2001, on Thursday announced the organizing committee had landed a pair of new sponsors, including the Valhalla Inn, the tournament’s official hotel, and the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce.
“Believe it or not, we haven’t actually put out our marketing documents yet and gone out marketing. Most of everything we’ve achieved to date is all just word of mouth. I get more phone calls wanting to be a part of it than I do phoning (them) to be a part of it,” Smith said.
“So that’s great news. You can really see that people are really excited at bringing an event of this magnitude to the city.”
The event is scheduled for the week of July 14 to 20 at Whitewater Golf Course.
Formerly known as the Canadian Tour, the circuit was taken over by the PGA prior to last season and rebranded.
PGA Tour Canada graduates who’ve gone on to worldwide success include 2003 Masters champion Mike Weir, Tim Clark and Steve Stricker. The top five finishers on the end-of-season money list automatically earn their Web.com Tour cards for the following year, a chance to earn their way onto the main PGA Tour to play alongside the likes of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
Mary McLellen, general manager at the Valhalla in, said they’re thrilled to learn they’ll be hosting all the sponsors, players and officials when the tournament arrives next summer, the first year of a three-year commitment organizers have made to the PGA Tour Canada to host the tournament.
McLellen estimated the event will fill an estimated 85 per cent of the hotel’s rooms.
“It’s a great event coming to the city, and for us to be able to contribute to that is very important,” she said.
“This event coming here is going to benefit so many businesses. Not just ours, but the entire community. To have the influx of business in the summertime is going to have a ripple effect throughout the community.”
Chamber of Commerce president Charla Robinson, whose organization is contributing $12,000, said events like the Thunder Bay Golf Classic help bring life to communities.
“We’re proud to be part of this high-profile sports competition,” Robinson said in a release. PGA tour Canada is a great fit for our city and ties in very closely with our goal of promoting and strengthening business and community development through effective partnerships.”
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