Lye, who shared broadcast duties along with commentator Grant Boone during the Tours initial four events of the season at Barefoot Resort, concedes he wasnt sure what to expect when he arrived in Myrtle Beach for the Tours first-ever swing into the U.S.
To be honest, when we negotiated this deal about six months ago, I was a little concerned about the level of play we would see, admits Lye. But once I began to see the field, I knew we had nothing to worry about. A lot of people were surprised at just how good these guys were, but Im not. We are ecstatic with how they performed.
A big boost for the Tour is the recent ten-year pact with The Golf Channel, which will see the network increase coverage to six events a year south of the border through 2010. Despite the inconsistent weather conditions that were the norm over the month-long stay in Myrtle Beach, Lye added that each week presented golf fans with unique scenarios that showed the parity on the Canadian Tour.
Jace Bugg coming out of nowhere on the final day of the South Carolina Challenge with a course record 62, Aaron Barber (Barefoot Classic), Eamonn Brady (Myrtle Beach Open), Scott Ford (CanAm Days Championship)these guys took their best shot on four world-class courses, and the results speak for themselves.
The California-born Lye, who won the 1983 Bank of Boston Classic and held the lead in the late stages of the 1984 Masters before eventually settling for sixth, has witnessed some of golfs memorable moments, whether it be as a player or broadcaster. He knows a good product on the links when he sees it, and feels the Canadian Tour is primed for a leap into the big-time.
This is an outstanding Tour, and dollar for dollar is probably the toughest to make money on because of the talent level. You have to love guys that will grind it out day after day for limited money, simply because they love the sport, he maintains. Hopefully, this (The Golf Channel pact) will be the first step towards some national businesses stepping in to help out the Tour. You have a great product with a lot of strong players, and this is a huge step forward for the Tour. We have a lot of fans up in Canada, and Canadians have to realize what they have here.