OAKVILLE, Ont. - Brent McLaughlin will make his debut as tournament director of the RBC Canadian Open next month in very familiar surroundings.Glen Abbey, the well-known course hosting the only Canadian stop on the PGA Tour, is also the site of Golf Canada's offices. That takes some pressure off McLaughlin, a longtime staff member who takes over as tournament director from Bill Paul, who served in that capacity for 23 years.Familiarity with the venue is something McLaughlin won't have to concern himself with in organizing the July 20-26 event."This is a home game for us . . . the venue sets up perfect for us," McLaughlin said. "When you do the day-to-day stuff closer to home it's nicer from a personal standpoint."From a spectator standpoint this golf course is unbelievable, it sets up perfectly. When you come out here as a fan you can see every putting green, it's easy to walk, there's always a great spot, there's always tree cover to get in the shade. It's a great venue for the Canadian Open."McLaughlin received more good news Monday when Scott Simmons, the chief executive officer of Golf Canada, announced the event will return to Glen Abbey in 2016.Glen Abbey last staged the Canadian Open in 2013, but that marked its first appearance there since consecutive tournaments were played in 2008 and '09. Twenty-four events have been played over the 7,273-yard, par-72 course designed by legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus since its establishment in 1976.The 2014 Canadian Open was played at The Royal Montreal Golf Club.Simmons said holding the event at the same venue for multiple years presents many benefits for tournament organizers."It almost allows you to pre-sell the event," Simmons said. "In fact we're working on some plans now where we're going to be able to possibly close some sales during this year's event so from that perspective it's great."Simply from a logistics standpoint we know what we're doing here and there are things you can do, cost savings, when you're going back to back. There's continuity on some of our spectator services, our catering . . . there's a lot of benefits being at the same venue back to back."McLaughlin admits he has big shoes to fill in replacing Paul. But he has definite ideas about how to make the Canadian Open more fan friendly with outdoor patios, food trucks and viewing areas."You turn it into a festival," he said. "We really embrace community, we embrace what's not on the golf course and not inside the ropes."As much as we do need to focus on the players and inside the ropes and the product, we need to be really community related and let's make this the biggest party, the can't-miss party . . . this has to be the place to be."For many years, Glen Abbey was the longtime home of the Canadian Open but recently the tournament has been held at various venues across Canada. Simmons said Golf Canada is looking at the logistics of possibly finding a semi-permanent home for the event."Yes, I would like to look at the possibility of going back, if you will, to a permanent facility, a permanent home for the Open," he said. "But I don't think that would ever preclude the Open moving as well . . . we're looking at both."I would love to see this event move around the country, I'd also like to embrace the benefits of the continuity of being in one place as well."
This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Canada, which closed in 2021.