Rick Janes looking ahead to next chapter
He cared about the Canadian Tour, and he cares about the future of PGA Tour Canada
Published on Friday, Nov. 02, 2012 01:11PM EDT
Now that Nov. 1st has come and gone, Rick Janes' seven-year tenure as commissioner of the Canadian Tour is over. That's the same day that the Canadian Professional Golf Tour, as it was formally known, became PGA Tour Canada. Janes, 61, is now "commissioner emeritus," and it says so at the bottom of his communications. He also no longer has an email address associated with the former Canadian Tour.
But this doesn't mean that Janes won't be involved with the Canadian Tour's latest incarnation. He told me in an interview Friday morning that "by no stretch of the imagination am I retired. I'm looking forward to the next chapter."
That doesn't mean he knows what the next chapter will entail. He did say he'd have a consulting role. (He's not drawing a salary now). Janes added that PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem is interested in expanding the First Tee program in Canada - there's one First Tee program in the country now, in Vancouver, associated with the YMCA - and that he could be involved in that. Then there are PGA Tour Academies, teaching facilities that the PGA Tour licenses. Janes said he's doing some work in this area now.
Meanwhile, what does he think of his time with the Canadian Tour? Was it successful? I was surprised when Janes told me that his primary objective was never to secure a title sponsor for the Tour. He said that the PGA Tour's brand itself was so strong in Canada that it would constitute an obstacle. Now, of course, the PGA Tour has taken over the Canadian Tour. I felt some sadness on the news last month, as I wrote here .
Janes wasn't feeling sad. If anything, he was buoyant when we spoke, and said that the idea of aligning with the PGA Tour goes back to February 2009 when he had a strategy meeting with the Canadian Tour's board. That's happened now.
"Entitlement is a big part of this," Janes said, meaning the PGA Tour will be looking for an umbrella, or title, sponsor. He believes this is "a very real possibility for 2014." I hope he's right, but I'm by no means convinced that a company is going to come in as title sponsor just because the PGA Tour has stamped its brand on the Canadian Tour, or what I still think of as under that name. I'm wrong, of course. It will just take some getting used to the new situation to use "PGA Tour Canada."
I wondered whether PGA Tour Canada would have its own commissioner. Janes didn't know, but he did say, "There's only one commissioner of the PGA Tour," meaning Tim Finchem.
The Canadian Tour had seven employees, Janes said. There's no room for Cindy Cote, his executive assistant and the person involved with managing applications for qualifying school and with the players' day-to-day concerns. She's been with the Canadian Tour since 1989.
"Unfortunately, Cindy is not going to continue," Janes said. He referred to her departure as a retirement.
It wouldn't be surprising to see the Canadian Tour's office on the grounds of the Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ont. retire as well, so to speak. Its lease in Golf House, where Golf Canada is also located, is up at the end of January. Janes said that PGA Tour Canada would maintain a presence in Canada.
Back in 2005, when Janes assumed the role of Canadian Tour commissioner, there were 12 tournaments. That doesn't include the Canadian PGA Championship, then also a Nationwide (now Web.com) Tour event, or the Alberta Classic, which was also a Nationwide tournament. Events were held in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.
The Canadian Tour this year had eight tournaments. PGA Tour Canada will also have eight next year, each with a minimum $150,000 purse. Each tournament, Janes said, has committed to three years.
"The Canadian Tour was on life support in 2005 when I came in," said Janes, who had long been in the advertising business. "I worked for a dollar the first year."
I asked him about his biggest disappointment during his time as commissioner. He elected to answer the question indirectly.
"If I would have done anything different," he said, "I wouldn't have bowed to pressures to increase purses. You can't do that. It's not sustainable. The idea was never that players should be able to make a living on the Canadian Tour. But it's a member (that is, player) driven organization, and they want the purses to increase."
It's common knowledge that Janes and some players had their differences. To that, he said, "I'm 61 and the average player is 26. That's a very big difference. I can't be concerned with what people were thinking of me. I'm very comfortable with how I've left things. PGA Tour Canada is sustainable. We've gone from where our top two players get into second stage of [PGA Tour] qualifying school to the top five going to the Web.com Tour. That's a huge opportunity for the players."
The PGA Tour Canada money leader next year will get full playing privileges on the Web.com Tour. The next four on the money list will get conditional privileges. Janes is right in saying that this represents a huge opportunity for players.
As for Janes, he and his wife are soon heading south. They plan to look for a property in south Florida. The commissioner emeritus of PGA Tour Canada plans to stay involved in golf up north, but he's also ready for a break down south and he'd like to work on his game.
Good luck to Janes. This much is certain: He cared about the Canadian Tour, and he cares about the future of PGA Tour Canada.
RELATED LINK: More blogs from Lorne Rubenstein
Lorne Rubenstein has written a golf column for The Globe and Mail since 1980. He has played golf since the early 1960s and was the Royal Canadian Golf Association’s first curator of its museum and library at the Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ontario and the first editor of Score, Canada’s Golf Magazine, where he continues to write a column and features. He has won four first-place awards from the Golf Writers Association of America, one National Magazine Award in Canada, and, most recently, he won the award for the best feature in 2009 from the Golf Journalists Association of Canada. Lorne has written 12 books, including The Natural Golf Swing, with George Knudson (1988); Links: An Insider’s Tour Through the World of Golf (1990); The Swing, with Nick Price (1997); The Fundamentals of Hogan, with David Leadbetter (2000); A Season in Dornoch: Golf and Life in the Scottish Highlands (2001); Mike Weir: The Road to the Masters (2003); A Disorderly Compendium of Golf, with Jeff Neuman (2006); This Round’s on Me (2009); and the latest Moe & Me: Encounters with Moe Norman, Golf’s Mysterious Genius (2012). He is a member of the Ontario Golf Hall of Fame and the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame.
Lorne can be reached at email@example.com.
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