Sean Van Kesteren spent last week on a recruiting mission.
Top players pitched to come to Calgary for Shaw Charity Classic
June 10, 2013
The tournament director for the Champions Tour's newest stop - the Shaw Charity Classic - was not recruiting staff or volunteers. He was recruiting professional golfers.
Van Ketseren spent time in Des Moines, Iowa, at the Principal Charity Classic last week enticing the Tour's biggest names to come to Canyon Meadows Golf and Country Club Aug. 26 to Sept. 1.
"It's extremely important," said Van Kesteren about having a lineup filled with the sport's biggest names. "It's critical to have a great field. We want to set ourselves apart from a lot of the Champions Tour events that are going on, and I think we're going to do that.
"I think we're going to be a top echelon event right out of the gates and in order to do that you need to have a great field, and I'm very confident that we will."
Van Kesteren said he spent the better part of his time speaking to players at the event in Iowa about what Calgary has to offer and the purse up for grabs. The Shaw Charity Classic is just one of 10 events on the 26-tournament loop this year that offers a purse of $2 million or more.
Upon touching back down in Calgary, Van Kesteren felt pretty good about his sales pitch.
"I was able to get some very good commitments from some of the top players," he said about what will be an 81-player field. "Without naming names, it looks like we're going to have one of the strongest fields of the year." Just who Van Kesteren received commitments from will be revealed in the coming weeks, he said.
Calgary and Canyon Meadows will become a regular stop for the Champions Tour for the next three years. Putting forth a who's who of golfers was not only integral to Van Kesteren's team, but to the Champions Tour itself. Tour president Mike Stevens said they have been looking to get into Western Canada for some time now, and that it recently came down to groups in Vancouver and Calgary, with Calgary "Getting across the line first."
Stevens added that the city is a draw to many of the golfers on Tour because the majority of them have never visited the area.
"They're excited to get up there," Stevens said, referencing Banff as a highlight. "A lot of them are already talking about bringing their wives and making a mini-vacation out of it." Stevens himself is quite familiar with Calgary. He was part of the Nationwide Tour (Now Web.com Tour) team when they held the Alberta Classic at The Links of GlenEagles in 2003, and Redwood Meadows near Bragg Creek in 2004 and 2005.
Tickets for the event are already on sale at the Shaw Charity Classic website - www.shawcharityclassic.com
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