With the CP Women’s Open scheduled to be played next year at Magna Golf Club in Aurora, Ont., it returns to the Toronto area for the first time since the LPGA Tour visited in 2001 at Angus Glen, when I was working there.
Looking back, I was amazed by the organization. That was the first time we had worked with what is now Golf Canada. We had already signed the contract to host the 2002 Canadian Open, but this was the first time we got to work together.
The Golf Canada staff that was on site weeks before the tournament was so professional and worked so well with our staff.
I knew the Angus Glen staff was ready. At the time, we had upwards of 400 staff and I knew all hands were on deck. I could leave the property for awhile and be confident that the 373rd person on staff would do the right thing in any situation.
So the performance by both the Golf Canada staff and the Angus Glen staff is one thing that stands out. The other is the interaction of the LPGA Tour professionals with staff and the general public.
The incident that really epitomizes that took place on the Sunday when there was a rain delay and we had to pull players off the course with about five holes to play.
I had been out with our late superintendent Ernie Amsler and we came into the pro shop and there was Annika Sorenstam, who eventually won, Lorie Kane and Gail Graham signing autographs.
I expected them to be in the locker room, hunkered down, getting dry and here they were in the middle of the public, who showed such appreciation with stories about their daughters playing golf and looked up to the players.
I remember thinking that if this is what special athletes do, I want in. The LPGA players understand their fans and the tour’s business model.
At this week’s announcement at Magna, I saw a photo of Annika Sorenstam, Laurie McLaughlin and me looking like a drowned rat and I thought what a great week it was with special people around.
I’ve known Magna general manager and director of golf Stuart Brindle since early in his career and I told him this week that he will enjoy it and so will his staff, but if he needs my help, just let me know, but my experience was, thanks to the staff and players, he won’t need my help.