Showered in champagne, Sunday was a storybook ending at the CP Women’s Open for Brooke Henderson, and the province of Saskatchewan.
“The atmosphere was totally different, at the closing ceremonies it’s usually a formal thing, it was controlled chaos, but it was excitement,” Ryan Paul, the CP Women’s Open tournament director said.
The first major golf tournament in provincial history sealed a future for golf in Saskatchewan, but very little of that is due to the historic victory that occurred for the Smith Falls, Ontario native. Henderson is the first Canadian to win the tournament since 1973.
“Tourism Regina, Economic Development Regina, and our partners are very much going after these kinds of events. It’s no fluke, or by luck, that we got these events. We got them because people know what we can do here, and we’ll see more of this in the future,” Mayor Michael Fougere said proudly.
“It exceeded expectations, we knew it was going to be good, but we didn’t know it would be this good,” Paul beamed.
“I think, maybe at the start, they didn’t realize how big and how grand this event can be, and now that they’ve seen it I think the second time around will be even better,” he added.
Golf Canada knew that taking the tournament to a new province, and a new city would come with its fair share of challenges, but also opportunities.
“You just don’t know what to expect. That’s from support, spectators and corporate buyers, even suppliers making sure we have everything we need to run the event. Saskatchewan has been great and the City of Regina has helped us along the way; any hurdles we needed to overcome they were right by our side,” Paul smiled.
The tournament was more than just a chance for the city to dip their toes into professional golf. It was a chance to host a major international event while showing what it can offer to the world.
“I’m very proud of the face we showed, not just in Canada but around the world. There was between 200 million and 500 million people watching this worldwide; this is free advertising for our city and our province and you cannot buy that kind of attention around the world, so that’s absolutely fantastic,” Fougere stated.
“I have no doubt that in the future we will go after events this big, bigger – whatever it may be – because we put events on very, very well. I know we can do it properly and I’m very proud of everybody in this city,” he continued.
Official viewership and attendance won’t be calculated until sometime later this week, but Paul is already heralding the tournament’s attendance as one of the best CP Women’s Open’s he’s seen.
According to the Wascana Country Club, early estimates peg attendance between 40 and 50 thousand people.
“I think that Ottawa, with Brooke in her backyard, did 52-53; I’m not sure but close to that number, so to get even close says a lot of the citizens and residents of Saskatchewan,” Greg Dukart CEO of the Wascana Country Club said.
Henderson’s win means the Wascana Country Club has written itself into the sports history books, but despite the honour they’re in no rush to host the tournament again.
“Well it’s a long process, we would have to go right back to our shareholders and our board of directors in particular, I’m sure they would entertain it but it’s not going to be for a while, we just have to savour the moment,” Dukart continued.
Next year’s tournament is in Aurora, Ontario, and the next western CP Women’s Open is expected to be near Vancouver in 2020.