CHEO official charity for 2008 CN Canadian Women’s Open at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club August 11th to 17th
Lorena Ochoa will defend her title at the 2008 CN Canadian Women’s Open, taking place August 11th to 17th at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club.
And the children of Ottawa will be winners as well because The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario has been designated the tournament’s official charity for 2008.
When CN decided to take on the tournament sponsorship in 2006, their big condition was that there be a charity component, says Mark Wallace, assistant vice-president, Public Affairs, at CN.
“There was never a charity component before,” he says. “We wanted a program so that people attending the event could donate to a charity, and half the net proceeds at the end of the year would go to the charity, and the remainder to the next year’s event to keep it running. CN makes no money from this, nor does the Royal Canadian Golf Association.”
The RCGA is the governing body of golf in Canada, representing 377,000 members at 1,650 clubs across the country. Recognized by Sport Canada as the National Sports Organization for golf in this country, the RCGA’s mission is to grow participation in and passion for the sport while upholding the integrity and traditions of the game.
CN saw the sponsorship as “a great opportunity,” he says. “This tournament travels around the country to many of the communities where we do business.”
As well as sponsoring the CN Canadian Women’s Open, the CN sponsorship also includes the CN Canadian Women’s Tour, which is a developmental program of four events throughout the year for aspiring women professionals to make it to the LPGA tour.
The third piece of the sponsorship is the CN Future Links program. “Future Links is a teaching program aimed at children; teaching kids how to play golf,” he says. “It’s grass roots in communities, and it teaches kids the good values of golf. We thought that was a very good fit for us.”
The children’s program also enables CN to reach children with their safety message – how to play safe and be safe around trains. “It’s an opportunity to get those safety concerns out to children.”
Their first year of sponsorship, CN chose the London Children’s Hospital of Western Ontario as the beneficiary, and they suggested the CN Miracle Match program to heighten dona- tions. “CN agreed to match all proceeds raised on site during the tournament week,” says Mr. Wallace. “The rest is history. Last year in Edmonton, we created a website, we began accepting proceeds leading up to the tournament, and the program has really taken off. We’ve raised close to $1 million dollars in two years, and we look to eclipse that big time in Ottawa this year. The CN Canadian Women’s Open brings the community together in a worthy cause, and they get to watch some great golf.”
The tournament coincides with the 100th anniversary of the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club.
The format consists of 156 players, in a 72-hole championship reduced to lowest 70 scores and ties after two rounds.
The purse is US $2.25 million, the fifth largest on Tour.
The tournament will be broadcast coast-to-coast in Canada, Thursday to Sunday on Rogers Sportsnet, and on the Golf Channel in the US on tape delay on the weekend.
An attendance of more than 65,000 to 70,000 is anticipated, and those spectators can expect to see a new admissions area offering better flow, an improved CN Family Fun Zone, and increased bleacher seating – 800 plus seats on the 18th green.
The purse for the 2009 CN Canadian Women’s Open at Priddis Greens Golf and Country Club in Calgary, Alta. has been increased to US $2.75 million.
“CN is committed to ensuring that the CN Canadian Women’s Open is the finest event on the LPGA tour,” says Hunter Harrison, CN’s president and chief executive officer. “Increasing the purse will help us to continue attracting the world’s top women golfers and to organize an event that all Canadians can be proud of. At CN we are confident that this will make a great event even better, which in turn will mean more support for our communities and children’s hospitals through the CN Miracle Match program.”
“Throughout the past few years, CN and the RCGA have worked diligently to ensure that the CN Canadian Women’s Open is a premiere stop on the LPGA Tour,” says Sean Van Kesteren, Tournament Director of the CN Canadian Women’s Open.