Canadian LPGA member Lorie Kane, here last week for CN Canadian W omen’s Open media day at St. Charles Country Club, may have said it best.
“We’re here to leave more than divots behind,” Kane said.
The field for the US $2.25 million national championship, August 26-29 at St. Charles, will be nothing short of stellar but now organizers are turning their attention to a most important element of the tournament.
The fund raising component has been critical to staging the Open since CN got involved in 2006. Through four championships as title sponsor, the company has put some real locomotive power behind its commitment to the tournament’s charity work.
It’s called the CN Miracle Match and by matching funds raised by the communities in which the tournament is held, the total is more than $3.5 million for children’s hospitals.
Last year’s tally in Calgary was $1.6 million alone, a number the folks on the Winnipeg organizing committee are eying.
“I’d love to reach that goal, reach even higher but it may be unrealistic because there have been other events that have needed to be supported,” said RCGA tournament chair and Open fund-raising committee member Cathy Macatavish. “I’m glad they were.”
Specifically, Macatavish was referring to the Mike Weir Miracle Golf Drive for Kids, which also happened to be at Winnipeg and at St. Charles in June. That event generated $625,000 for the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba, the same beneficiaries of the Open.
Whether or not that timing was good is beside the point. The dollars are going to wind up in the same place and the CN Canadian Women’s Open organizers are now starting their push to hold up their end of the deal.
“We need Winnipeg to embrace the idea, which is, ‘Just give,’ because for every dollar we can raise, we’re going to get another one from CN with the Miracle Match,” Macatavish said.
Karen Fowler of the Children’s Hospital Foundation said Tuesday that apart from capital campaigns, the CN Canadian Women’s Open may well end up the single best one-event contributor ever to the foundation.
“We are thrilled about the possibility, but we haven’t taken our focus off the work of fulfilling the ongoing, year-to-year support the hospital needs,” Fowler said.
Before being awarded the 2010 championship a year ago, the Winnipeg bid committee was putting the pieces in place for a successful fund-raising effort.
“For me, when we were doing the bid, it was a big reason why I wanted to see the tournament here because I knew the money would stay in the marketplace, that we wouldn’t just be doing a tournament and that’s all,” Macatavish said. “The tournaments that do the charity (component) just raise their status heads above any other tournament that’s just for the sake of pros coming in and winning a bunch of money and away they go.
“Nowadays, it’s important that an event of this magnitude leave some kind of legacy behind. What’s better than doing this for the children’s hospital?”
The Winnipeg committee knew the charity component was a priority for CN, which more or less directs which cities will stage the Open.
With the tournament’s exposure now ramping up in newspaper ads, buses, banners and billboards, golf fans will find a variety of ways to help the cause.
Straight donations, of course, are welcome. Macatavish said appeals have been sent to golf club presidents and employee groups of tournament sponsors, but she’s encouraging any group, from golf leagues to neighborhood barbecues, to try to pitch in.
A great recent example is the St. Charles member-guest day, which came up with $12,000. The CN Miracle Match turns that into $24,000 for the Children’s Hospital Foundation.
To participate, special ticket packages have been designed for groups or companies and even individual ticket buyers for the tournament can pitch in by using the special charity promotion code (CNMM-10) when they buy their tickets at www.cncanadianwomensopen.com.
There, a $30 daily gate ticket is just $20. Ten dollars goes to the charity and is matched by CN.
At the tournament, purchasing a Miracle Match bracelet will be $10, which turns into $20 because CN matches it, and it also entitles the purchaser to a seat in the special grandstands.