A conversation with Scott Pritchard
July 12, 2020
By Communications, PGATOUR.COM
- July 12, 2020
Earlier this week, the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada announced the creation of the Canada Life Series, a set of four tournaments—two at Bear Mountain Golf & Tennis Resort Community in Langford, British Columbia, and two at TPC Toronto Osprey Valley in Caledon, Ontario—for players who are living in Canada. The Canada Life Series, open to professionals and elite amateurs, is in response to the Mackenzie Tour canceling its 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mackenzie Tour Executive Director Scott Pritchard recently sat down with PGATOUR.COM to discuss how the Tour partnered with Canada Life and two prestigious golf courses on both sides of the country to create the Canada Life Series. As the Series prepares to begin in August, Pritchard shared his thoughts about what these four tournaments might mean for players who are looking for competitive playing and money-making opportunities this summer.
How long after you canceled the Mackenzie Tour season did you come up with this idea for the Canada Life Series?
This Series was something we were contemplating before we canceled the season. Once we did decide to cancel, we had an enquiry from Bear Mountain about wanting to help in the event we found ourselves in a position to play this year. Canada Life is focused on helping Canadians, and we took the idea to Canada Life, a terrific partner, and its leadership was very enthusiastic about the concept. From there we went to work, finalizing things with Bear Mountain and asking for TPC Toronto’s support, which it willingly gave, leading us to this announcement.
You made the announcement on July 10. How long did it take to put the Canada Life Series concept together?
The Canada Life Series has been our primary focus for the last month or so. The Mackenzie Tour has been a significant part of the Canada’s sports landscape since our creation in 2013. We knew if we could find a partner like Canada Life to support this initiative, we would be able to shift our focus and pull it all together. We just didn’t care for the thought of completely sitting on the sidelines this summer.
What were the biggest challenges you and your team faced?
Because we are in the midst of a pandemic, we were really focused on the health safety of all involved. That has where a large chunk of our work has been. Because our partners have been so terrific, it allowed us to work on the issues related to the pandemic.
It’s been a couple of days since you announced. What has been the reception?
The reception has been overwhelmingly positive—from a media perspective, a player perspective and golf fans throughout the country. We have received numerous calls and emails from players expressing their gratitude to Canada Life for partnering with us to make this happen. Players now have something to look forward to, a Series that provides very good performance benefits. Already our phones are busy, emails are coming in and players are going to the registration site.
This Series seems like a lot of work with everything going on. Why did you elect to try to make this happen?
We knew the demand from players would be there, and knowing that, we went to work to provide them with these playing opportunities. We’re a member organization, and everything we do is designed around helping our players. That is one of the pillars we live by in our day-to-day jobs. With Canada Life on board to partner with us, we felt we were well positioned to make it happen.
You found two outstanding venues to stage these four tournaments. What are your thoughts on Bear Mountain and TPC Toronto?
Bear Mountain is one of the most majestic properties in Canada. That facility has hosted prestigious events before, and we feel very fortunate to be partnering with Bear Mountain on this Series. TPC Toronto was a natural fit for us. We were scheduled to play there this year on the Mackenzie Tour, and Chris Humeniuk and Brad Pinnell at TPC Toronto have always said to us if there is anything they could do that we should let them know. The players are going to be treated to some great golf courses during the Canada Life Series. If they’re familiar with these facilities, we are confident they will be happy to return. If they’ve never played Bear Mountain or TPC Toronto, we know they will be thrilled.
What does the creation of the Canada Life Series say to the Mackenzie Tour’s commitment to golf in Canada?
Canadians are passionate about golf as everybody knows, and we have seen a renaissance in the last few months. We are committed to providing opportunities for players to advance their careers, and the Canada Life Series will give Canadian-based players a chance to do just that.