THUNDER BAY — Staal Foundation Open organizers, the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada and the Staal Family decided earlier this week to discontinue the Staal Foundation Open, beginning in 2019.
Since 2014, the Staal Foundation Open has been the highlight of the summer for Northwestern Ontario residents, and the tournament has raised over $1 million for local charities while making a significant economic impact in the region.
“We are extremely proud of what the event has meant to the city of Thunder Bay and the region,” said Henry Staal of the Staal Family Foundation. “Our family has enjoyed being involved with the Mackenzie Tour and helping kids across the region for the last five years, and even though the tournament is ending we will continue to support youth and cancer initiatives in the area.”
The Staal Foundation Open debuted on the Mackenzie Tour in 2014 and earned a reputation as one of the best events in Canada. Crowds of 14,000 annually descended on Whitewater Golf Club to not only witness some of the top up-and-coming golfers in the world but also to rub shoulders with the NHL’s elite, both past and present.
“Events like the Staal Foundation Open require a huge amount of work and dedication on the part of the organizers, sponsors and volunteers,” said Walter Flasza, Board Chair of the Thunder Bay Golf Classic. “After five very successful years and over $1 million raised for local charities, it is clear to the Board and our partners that the event has accomplished a lot for the region for which we are all proud.”
The Staal Foundation Open has been the launching pad for many Mackenzie Tour players, highlighted by J.J. Spaun’s victory in 2015, which was a springboard for his successful move to the PGA TOUR. Additionally, Aaron Wise made his Mackenzie Tour debut in Thunder Bay in 2016, and the PGA TOUR recently named him its 2017-18 Rookie of the Year.
“We would like to thank the Staal Family, all the volunteers, sponsors and the entire community of Thunder Bay for everything they have done for our players over the last five years,” said Jeff Monday, President, Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada. “The Staal Foundation Open was an annual highlight for our players, and we truly appreciate the privilege it was to conduct such a great tournament in the area.”
The 2019 Mackenzie Tour schedule will be released at a later date.