Rivershore ready for Western Championship
As the big boys on the PGA Tour tune up in preparation for the U.S. Open, golfers one day hoping to tee off at a major will be swinging their sticks at Rivershore Estate and Golf Links.
The Canadian Professional Golf Tour (CPGT) is making a stop in the Tournament Capital from June 9 to 12, and the head of the tour made a brief appearance in town to see how the event was progressing.
So far, CPGT commissioner and CEO Rick Janes likes what he sees.
“We knew we were going to have an excellent golf course, but I wasn’t prepared for how quickly the people at the golf club and community have embraced the tournament,” he told KTW.
“It’s going to be a wonderful tournament, like they’ve [Rivershore] been doing it for many, many years.”
The first Western Championship is just a few weeks away, but the efforts to put a CPGT stop in Kamloops have been in the works for a few years.
Janes noted the CPGT had been working with sponsors and officials in the region for two years before the event was announced.
Though the tour looked at other cities in the region to fill the gap in its schedule between Victoria and Alberta, he noted Kamloops was always the first choice.
“This was a place we wanted to come,” Janes said.
“This is the community that shone and showed the most enthusiasm and we’re seeing the fruits of that right now.”
However, to run any successful sporting event, sponsorship dollars are key, and the commissioner noted the tour for now is financing “a great portion” of the championship.
He does hope it will become self-sufficient in the years to come.
Local golfers who’ve spent time on the Rivershore track will also likely get a kick seeing the course on cable TV.
The tour has left the Golf Channel and moved to Global-Shaw for this season.
Janes said the station will be running features and promoting events prior to PGA broadcasts.
He said the tour’s primary footprint is in Canada and suggested aligning itself with the PGA Tour means it will be reaching its most important clientele — golfers.
And, in the end, the four-day event is all about golf.
From the tour that produced PGA winners such as Mike Weir, Steve Stricker and D.A. Points, Janes is convinced Kamloopsians are in for a treat.
The championship features 156 players from 20 countries, including all of the top Canadian competitors.
Over the years, more than 100 players from CPGT have made it to the big show.
“You may not know those players today, but you will in the future,” Janes said.
Large crowds are more than welcome at the venerable course.
A one-day pass to the championship will cost $15, while a week-long package is $30.
Children under the age of 16 can come out and watch for free.
Janes said spectators can expect a friendly and accessible environment where they can get up close to watch some of the best young players in the world.