By Jeremy Kehler
For the first time, the CP Canadian Women’s Open is heading to Saskatchewan. The tournament will be held at Regina’s Wascana Golf and Country Club, which is on the city’s southeast side August 23-26 of this year. We had the pleasure to attend the pre-tournament media day held at the course.
Besides the traditional press conference that is associated with these days, some in the media, along with several sponsors, were given the chance to play the course and see what the players will be facing first hand. Wascana is carved out of the prairie landscape and the south end of Wascana Lake comes into play on several of the holes.
We didn’t have the opportunity to play the 18 holes that the ladies will play due to some major landscaping projects that were under way. Regina was hit with 1.5″ of rain in January, followed by extreme cold. The results weren’t pretty as Wascana suffered severe ice damage. Not all of the course was affected, but enough that no hole escaped the wrath of mother nature. Two holes were completely inaccessible and probably will be until the tournament.
With the event being held in late August, I fully expect the course to be in superb condition. The heat from July and early August, combined with the longer hours of sunlight will definitely help with the regrowth and new sodding that has taken place. It will also be a big relief to the grounds crew which will have worked many long hours to help make it happen.
The proceeds from this years event will benefit the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital currently under construction in Saskatoon. Specifically, the proceeds will fund a pediatric cardiology space in the new facility. The fundraising initiative is part of title sponsor Canadian Pacific Railway’s “CP has Heart” campaign to assist with cardiovascular health. As of right now, the province does not have a dedicated children’s hospital, let alone a dedicated cardio unit.
During the press conference, Lorie Kane made her personal feelings about the fundraising component of the even perfectly clear. She went on to reiterate several times the need for everyone to show their support of the event so that the financial goals will be exceeded. There is no doubt that she is on board one hundred percent to help see the goal of having the hospital, and the components within, completed. There are currently two pediatric wards in the province, but for all surgeries and complicated issues, the patients have to go to either Edmonton, Winnipeg or Toronto for care.
When posing for photos after the speeches and interviews, Brooke Henderson was very cautious to not touch the trophy. While I can’t comment on her personal superstitious behaviour, I think the hockey belief of not touching a trophy until you’ve won it is fully ingrained in her psyche. For those that don’t know, Brooke was a goalie growing up in Smith Falls, Ontario.
I have to commend Golf Canada for having the desire to play the event outside the GTA. The response so far to the event has been extremely good sponsor and ticket sale wise. Regina, and Saskatchewan in general, is well known for supporting large scale events. This event will be no different. I will be more surprised if the fundraising goals aren’t met then if they are exceeded.
While Golf Canada is leery at best about trotting the RBC Canadian Men’s Open around Canada, they have no issues with the CP Women’s Open. Maybe it’s time to start playing the event primarily in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, where support for the tournament would be higher and wouldn’t face the same sponsor competition as it does in Ontario. That idea might be a bit closer to reality then we imagine.