The RBC Canadian Open would have been played next week and while it’s too late to save the proceedings, at least in 2021, at St. George’s Golf and Country Club in Toronto, an announcement that could come as early as this week might offer a sudden glimmer of hope for some late season Canadian golf events.
The Shaw Charity Classic is to be played Aug. 13-15 at Calgary’s Canyon Meadows Golf and Country Club and a couple of weeks after that PGA Tour Champions event, the CP Women’s Open is to be played Aug. 26-29 at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club in Vancouver.
Both British Columbia and Alberta have eased COVID-19 restrictions recently, but the big barrier in staging both events is getting players/tournament officials/staff/television crews etc. across the border without an unworkable 14-day isolation.
The Canada-U.S. border has been closed to non-essential travel since March 2020 and will remain that way until at least June 21, although it’s likely to be extended beyond that date, despite vaccinations increasing daily and case counts coming down in most provinces in Canada.
However, reports are circulating that the federal government is considering a travel exemption that would let the winner of the NHL’s Canadian division and an American opponent cross the border in the semi-final and final of the Stanley Cup playoffs without having to isolate for 14 days, although certain safety precautions would need to be followed.
In the regular season, Canadian teams played in one division and didn’t cross the border, but the winner of that Canadian division will meet an American team in the playoffs. If the border exemption isn’t given, the only other option is to play all games in the U.S.
If the border exemption is given, will it be awarded exclusively to hockey, or does it set a precedent for other sporting events such as golf tournaments?
You can bet that tournament officials will be seeking clarity on that matter if hockey gets the exemption and so they should. By the time the CP Women’s Open and Shaw Charity Classic roll around in August, vaccinations will be in more arms and case counts and hospitalizations should be way down compared to now, or let’s hope that’s the case.
The catch is that tournament officials will need to know quickly because a call on whether their events are a go this year will need to be made soon.