The PGA Tour, in concert with Royal Montreal Golf Club, has made an exciting announcement: the 2024 Presidents Cup will be coming to Canada.
A bid committee – which featured three honourary co-chairs including former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, former Premier of Quebec Jean Charest, and Canadian Golf Hall of Fame member Mike Weir – first made their pitch to the PGA Tour in 2017 at the Presidents Cup in New York. Although the bid from Royal Montreal was considered an underdog at the time, the group presented something that was too good to pass up.
The course, established in 1873 and the oldest in North America, has also hosted the RBC Canadian Open 10 times – most recently in 2014. It has a long history with the PGA Tour, and has proven it has the infrastructure to host large-scale events.
LOTS OF FAN SUPPORT
“The Canadian government and the fans in Canada, and specifically in Montréal, have long supported the PGA Tour in our sport. Canadian fans have a reputation on our Tour as some of the most passionate and knowledgeable in the game,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said. “Looking back at the support that both teams received in Montréal in 2007, and how the Presidents Cup has grown since, there is no doubt in my mind that the 2024 playing will add significantly to the event's growing legacy.”
Canadian Ryan Hart, who has served as the Tournament Director of The Players Championship for the last two seasons, was announced as the Executive Director of the Presidents Cup in 2024.
“I am humbled and honored to accept this role and help lead our flagship national event in our home country. Canada is passionate about golf. I have seen that firsthand and we look forward to channeling that passion from coast to coast in 2024,” said Hart. “As Commissioner Monahan said earlier, the Presidents Cup celebrates the values that are inherent in our sport. I take the responsibility of these values to heart, and look forward to showcasing them in Montréal.”
A PROVEN HOST VENUE
Royal Montreal’s Blue Course will be the host venue of the Presidents Cup, while its Red Course will be used for various logistical and infrastructure additions. Noted golf-course architect Rees Jones renovated the Blue Course at Royal Montreal in 2004-05 as the course prepared itself for the 2007 Presidents Cup, won by Team U.S.A.
Michael Richards, the chair of the bid committee at Royal Montreal, said the club doesn’t expect to have to make any changes to the layout before 2024, but with the long runway before the competition, they will take any PGA Tour suggestions to heart.
Monahan said the opportunity and the timing to return to a “treasure” like Royal Montreal was idyllic.
“We felt like 2024 was the perfect time to return, and I think with the continued evolution of the Presidents Cup, we’re just going to see a really exciting Presidents Cup that the world is going to be excited to see,” he said.
CANADA’S GOLDEN MOMENT
While there was continued excitement around Royal Montreal and its successful Presidents Cup bid, the bigger anticipation was wrapped in who might be playing on his home soil in four years.
No captain was announced for 2024 – as the result of the 2022 Presidents Cup may determine who will be leading both sides – but all signs are pointing towards Mike Weir leading the charge for the International team.
“If that does come my way it would be an unbelievable honour,” said Weir. “I've been pretty vocal in saying the Presidents Cup has been a huge part of my career, not only getting to know some of the best players on the International side from around the world, the likes of Ernie (Els) and Greg Norman and (Steve) Elkington and Vijay (Singh), all the guys I've had a chance to play with over the years, and it really enhanced my game playing with those guys and playing in that competition.
“I would really relish that if that comes my way.”
Graham DeLaet and Adam Hadwin were the other Canadians who have participated in a Presidents Cup.
“I think I can probably speak for all the Canadians when we say the one tournament we look forward to every year is the RBC Canadian Open and it’s because of the fan support. To play (the Presidents Cup) in Canada would be extra, extra special,” said DeLaet, who played the Presidents Cup in 2013. “Obviously there would be, maybe, a little bit more pressure on you. But I think that’s what, as a professional golfer, that’s what you want. You want to be in that spotlight and holding your country’s flag on your back and doing whatever you can for those 11 guys on the team.”
This summer there were four Canadians in the top-100 of the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time ever. Along those same lines, there were four Canadians in a World Golf Championship for the first time in history, along with four at the PGA Championship. Later this fall there will be four at the Masters for the first time, too.
All that said Canada appears to be on track to have a healthy contingent of guys playing in front of their home country’s fans at the Presidents Cup in 2024 at Royal Montreal.
“Putting two Canadians together and playing well and firing up the crowd might be what's best for the team. If that were the case, that would be amazing,” said Hadwin, a two-time Presidents Cup team member. “That would be awesome. I would love to be a part of that team. It would be a major point in Canadian golf history and I think that's what we all work to be a part of.”
Written and intended to the GlobalGolf.ca audience by Adam Stanley