Northern Exposure - Canadian Tour Growing


Bet you never knew the name Chris DiMarco while he was cutting his teeth on the Canadian Tour, now did you? Or for that matter Mike Weir, or Steve Stricker, or Scott McCarron or Notah Begay III or even Kirk Triplett! Pretty familiar names now, aren't they?
This week begins yet another season for the Canadian Tour, which tees it up south of Canada in the first of six events to be held in the United States this year. It's the Texas Classic at the Forest Course at the Golf Courses at Kingwood just outside Houston. And by weeks end the name Jason Bohn or Jace Bugg might be just a bit more recognizable.
Just like the Tour which has produced names like David Duval, Tom Lehman and Stewart Cink, the Canadian Tour has its own bragging rights. Rising stars and established veterans totaling 200 make up this tour, which will make 19 stops in four countries for a record purse of $3.2 million.
Last year marked TGC's first year televising Canadian Tour golf and I feel safe in saying that as our presence with the tour grows, so too will the name recognition of many golfers who call this tour 'home.' This week's stop in Houston will be followed by next week's event in Austin, a stop in Mexico, followed by a two-week stint in Scottsdale, Ariz., and a two-week visit to Myrtle Beach, S.C.
If Wednesday was any indication, then we're in for some fun. We brought you the inaugural Texas Classic 'Shoot-out' comprising eight players who played the game of 'elimination' for seven holes until 25-year-old Jace Bugg finally outlasted 28-year-old Jason Bohn.
Bugg is a former Kentucky Amateur champion and a winner of last year's South Carolina Challenge in Myrtle Beach. He's a powerful player with a nice touch around the greens who admitted after the shoot-out that his dream is to play in the Masters Tournament. While he admits to being only about 'half-way' there in ability, his dreams are just as strong as anyone's. Bohn shot 58 last year to win the Bayer Championship in Sarnia, Ontario. He missed just one cut in 11 tournaments in 2001. But while shooting 58 is a nice stat for the resume, his bank account wasn't helped by that as much as it was an 'ace' in 1992 as a sophomore at the University of Alabama. Bohn holed out during a sponsored hole-in-one contest to win $1 million. He had to turn pro immediately to accept the cash prize, but hasn't looked back since.
And as you watch the likes of Bohn or Bugg or last year's money-winner Aaron Barber this week, keep in mind that these players aren't looking back - they're looking straight up at names like DiMarco and Appleby who are proven winners at the highest level. This tour is a great source of competition and for us at the Golf Channel - it's a great source of storytelling. After all, we like to join in conversations about players too. And isn't it great to be able to say, 'Hey, I knew him when ... '