99th edition of Men’s Northern confirmed for Cooke

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Senior provincials slated for later this month will no longer take place

It’s a mix of good news and bad news when it comes to upcoming major tournaments at the Cooke Municipal Golf Course.

Canada Day brought forward some excitement for area golfers as it was announced that the 99th edition of the Men’s Northern will be held from Aug. 1-3.

“It’s certainly a breath of fresh air in the COVID-19 world that we are all living in at the moment,” said Martin Ring, who is a co-chair for the tournament along with Tom Wormworth and Jeff McKeand.

“We’re excited to host an event and have a competitive weekend at Cooke. We believe this is the longest running match play tournament in Canada and we certainly didn’t want to miss our 99th years.”

It wasn’t all positive news for the course though as the 101st senior men’s and 57th senior women’s provincial championships will not take place this summer.

Golf Saskatchewan had announced two weeks ago that the event would be held as planned from July 28-30, but the situation changed after the tournament organizers met with city council.

“They gave a lot of thought to it (having the senior provincials in Prince Albert),” Ring said. “It’s hard though with the late start to the season and the 12-minute gaps between tee-times taking away from the opportunities for the public to golf. When you have a provincial tournament, that’s three to four days where the public is unable to golf, so they felt it wasn’t the right year to host it.

“Golf Saskatchewan has been very cooperative with us through the whole process and we’re certainly hoping to get a crack to host the senior provincials again in 2021.”

While the Northern’s traditional August long weekend date remains intact, there will be some changes to the three-day event.

A maximum field of 96 entries is set in stone for this year’s tournament, which will be down slightly from the 112 that competed in 2019.

“The shotgun start isn’t possible under the current guidelines,” Ring said. “In order to fit everyone within the 10-minute tee times, we had to reduce our field this year, but that will make sure that everyone is able to play two rounds on Sunday.

“We still have to stick to the provincial and municipal guidelines that are in place, especially with social distancing. The Northern is a big social gathering and it’s going to be different for sure with the golfers not hanging out in the lounge. However, most of the guys that I’ve talked to are really looking forward to getting the competitive juices flowing again and getting as close to normal as we can.”

Another major difference that could be in effect during the tournament will be with the number of people that are following the championship flight.

“That’s something we’re going to have to manage with our volunteers as we get everything laid out, especially since there are still four weeks to go before the tournament starts and things could change,” Ring said.

“There’s a lot of people that like to follow the final match, but we really have to remind everyone that the social distancing rules still apply. We want people to enjoy themselves and we also want them to remain safe, as we don’t want to have any outbreaks come out of our event.”

Entries for the event, which cost $150 for season pass holders and $180 for non pass holders, are being accepted until Wednesday, July 22 through Darcy’s Golf Shop at 306-763-2502 or online www.cookegolf.ca.

Cory Selander is the reigning champion of the Men’s Northern after defeating Ashley Ziegeman in last year’s championship flight.