“They’re the best young golfers in the world,” said Tim Garbutt, executive director of the ATB Financial Classic. “These are the guys who are moving on and will be, in a couple years, on the PGA Tour … People might not know their names yet but we’re selling future.”
ATB Financial Classic
ATB Financial Classic
What is the Mackenzie Tour?
“This has become the No. 1 way to get to the PGA Tour,” Garbutt said. “We’re now getting All-American players from UCLA or USC. They’re all coming to this tour.”
What is the ATB Financial Classic?
There are only two Alberta stops on the Mackenzie Tour and that’s allowed the ATB Financial Classic to attract the very best young golfers on the continent. The tournament’s been held every year since 2007 and 2019 will mark the fourth straight year that it’s taken place at the Country Hill Golf and Country Club, one of Calgary’s most challenging courses.
“When you come out, you’re just astonished by the shots you see,” Garbutt said. “It’s probably one of the toughest courses in Calgary and they make it look like a pitch-and-putt. The winning score last year was a minus-27, they rip it to shreds.”
Are there any notable names from years past I might know?
Definitely. Here’s a couple examples. In 2016, Aaron Wise finished tied for 15th at the ATB Financial Classic. Last year, he was the PGA Tour’s Rookie of the Year. Tony Finau finished tied for fifth at the Masters this year but played at the tournament in Calgary in 2013. Canadian star Graham Delaet won the ATB Financial Classic back in 2009, while current Canadian PGA contenders Adam Hadwin, Mackenzie Hughes, and Nick Taylor have all competed, as well. The list goes on and on.
Is this a family friendly event?
One of the fun things about the ATB Financial Classic is that unlike a lot of big golf tournaments, spectators can choose to follow one golfer around to every hole or just stay at one hole and check out how the different athletes approach it.
“It’s a great family event,” Garbutt said. “Kids are free, you can walk around, and you’re not confined to a seat. You can bring strollers, too, so it’s a very family-friendly outing and very inexpensive.”
The proximity that spectators can get to the golfers is unique, too, as the golfers tend to stick around after their rounds to sign autographs and take pictures. That opportunity to interact with golfers who are on the cusp of becoming big stars is just not something you’re going to get once these guys are playing on the PGA Tour.
What else should I know?
Where can I get tickets?
The ATB Financial Classic comes to Calgary August 8-11, 2019 at Country Hill Golf & Country Club.