Golf Away Tours ‘Attention to Detail’ PGA Championship of Canada Preview

Golf Away Tours ‘Attention to Detail’ PGA Championship of Canada Preview

The 102nd PGA Championship of Canada kicks off Monday at Mickelson National Golf Club 

By: Brendan Stasiewich, PGA of Canada

Quick Facts: 

Purse: $90,000 

First-Place Cheque: $13,000

Field Size: 156 Players

Course Details: Par 72/7,001 yards

Dates: June 10-12, 8:30 AM MT first tee time, 3:35 PM MT final tee time

2023 PGA Champion of Canada: Kevin Stinson

Format: 54-hole individual stroke play, cut to 60+ ties following second round

Schedule of events, pairings and results

When competing in the PGA of Canada’s most storied event, it’s all about getting the details right – just like how Golf Away Tours takes care of all the details when planning golf getaways – let’s take a deep dive into what the players are in store for this week at Mickelson National at the first event on the PGA of Canada Championship Schedule presented by Golf Avenue.

The Golf Course

Mickelson National Golf Club is framed by rolling foothills and boasts a raw, natural aesthetic. Opening on June 1, 2020, the maturity of the club is quite impressive given that this is just its fourth season of operations.

With a links feel and little protection from the elements, players will likely be impacted by gusting winds throughout the week. Luckily, the forecast calls for 20-degree temperatures, though there is a risk of a thundershower on Tuesday. We will leave the remainder of the forecasting to the meteorologists.

One of the main takeaways players have when playing Mickelson National for the first time is the severity of the greens. There are many undulations and the ball can quickly get away from a player on the low side if not careful.  

Major Key: Players who control their ball flight and spin rate will have an advantage this week both off the tee and approaching the greens.

The Field

For the first time in 20 years, the PGA Championship of Canada features a 156-player field, thanks to Calgary’s late sunset and Mickelson National’s support of the event.

The top 15 players on the PGA Player Rankings presented by ECCO Golf are all in the field this week. The top two players on the rankings are the two most recent winners of the event: hometown-hero Wes Heffernan and BC-ball-striker Kevin Stinson.

“The greens are challenging,” said Stinson, who competed in the RBC Canadian Open just a few weeks ago. “This is always our biggest tournament of the year as far as the PGA of Canada goes. it's one that everybody is excited for and I know it's going to be a great venue. I've heard nothing but good things about it.”

When using the phrase ‘legend-status’, one player in the field fits the bill more than anybody else. The ageless wonder Jim Rutledge missed the 2023 PGA Championship of Canada, so this will be his first chance to one-up his runner-up finish at this event in 2022. At age 64, Rutledge can still hit the ball as well (or, in some cases, better), than those a third of his age and his prowess around the greens will help as he looks to claim the P.D. Ross trophy for the second time – with the first coming exactly 40 years ago in 1984.

Calgary native Katy Rutherford is the lone female in the field. The last time she competed alongside the men at a national championship she catapulted out of the gate with a first-round 69 which included six birdies at the 2023 PGA Assistants’ Championship of Canada presented by Callaway Golf. Though she cooled off the final two rounds, if she can bring the same elite level with the flat-stick to Mickelson she will be a name to watch.

Women are eligible for each PGA of Canada National Championship, playing a tee deck slightly shorter than men in the field. The policy can be found here. 

A few Ontario names to watch this week are David Li Sheman, looking for redemption following a playoff loss to Stinson last year, and G.W. King, who seems to perennially play well in National Championships and is coming off a five-stroke win at the PGA of Ontario Spring Championship, firing a course-record 63 during the first round at Tangle Creek.

Click here to see the full field

The ‘TJ Rule(s)’ of the Week

With support from Golf Away Tours' founder (and great player in his own right) TJ Rule, here are a few of the local ‘rules’ and things to watch for from a competitions standpoint.

  • The 16th hole this week will have a major impact on the outcome of the event. The competitions staff are using a tee-deck measuring 320-yards on the drivable par-4, but there is an alternate deck measuring 290 that will come into play during the week. With a penalty area around the green left and long, this will be a great risk-reward hole which could lead to major shifts on the leaderboard late Wednesday.
  • While the double crossover is never what you want when trying to play a cut off the tee, it is essential for running a golf tournament with this many players. Players begin their first round in the morning or afternoon wave off of the 1st or 10th tee, and then swap for the following round.
  • Mickelson National boasts an impressive six teeing areas on each hole, ranging in yardage from 4741 on deck VI, to 7402 on deck I. The players at this event will primarily play from deck II, with select holes from deck I. Full scorecard can be found on the tournament information page here.

Major Key: Calgary has two syllables, not three. Those who accurately pronounce the city name will likely have an advantage this week.

What Else is Going On?

Thanks to our tournament partners, we are excited to elevate the experience this week for both players and fans alike.

The 7th hole has been chosen as the ‘E-Z-GO ‘It’s Good to Go’ hole of the week. All players who make eagle on the 316-yard par 4 throughout the week will be put into a draw for a $250 cash prize.

Fans can follow along by selecting a player to be their Wesko e-Locks ‘Lock-of-the Week’, prior to the tournament beginning on Monday morning. Head to Instagram and comment your ‘Lock of the Week’ for the chance to win a PGA of Canada prize pack.

Thanks to Calgary-based energy company Flint, player meals will be available each of the first two rounds, while there will also be multiple clinics ongoing throughout the week courtesy of Harmony Developments.

Staff clothing this week was generously provided by Stony Wilds – check out the latest and greatest from Stony here.

The leaderboard will be available throughout the week here.