Golf Canada names athletes selected to 2022 Team Canada
Golf Canada is pleased to announce the group of 46 junior and amateur athletes selected as part of the Team Canada player development program for 2022. Professional players who will be part of Team Canada in 2022 will be determined and announced in January.
The announcement marks a significant roster increase, adding 17 additional male and female athletes to the previous year’s Team Canada amateur and junior squads. The larger program size will increase the number of top developing players who receive nationally supervised coaching and support and will grow the pool of future high-potential Canadian professional golfers.
The athlete roster expansion reflects a restructuring to accommodate the growing talent pool in Canadian golf and is financially supported by contributions from Golf Canada Foundation’s network of Trustees, Golf Canada corporate partners, and a slight reallocation of Golf Canada resources. Golf Canada will also expand its group of Team Canada coaches to effectively support the larger roster of athletes.
“This is an exciting period for Canadian golf, and we are intensifying the National Team Player Development Program,” said Kevin Blue, chief sport officer with Golf Canada. “We are in the process of additional analysis and strategic planning, and we look forward to further system enhancements in 2022 with the goal of helping more Canadian players reach the LPGA and PGA TOUR.”
Team Canada’s 2022 National Amateur Squad consists of 21 athletes, including eight women and 13 men. The Junior Squad totals 25 athletes including 12 female and 13 male U19 athletes ages 14-18.
The athletes representing Team Canada have all achieved impressive results at regional, provincial, national, and international competitions, including NCAA tournament wins and victories at prestigious amateur and junior competitions. The athletes have also benefited in their development from support though their respective provincial golf associations, personal coaches, home golf clubs and families.
“Supporting the Team Canada program and the next generation of Canadian golf talent is a major priority of the Foundation and our Trustee donors,” said Martin Barnard, Golf Canada Foundation CEO. “Together with program partners we are proud to provide a network of support for the continued growth of Canadian golf at the highest levels.”Athletes named to the Team Canada Amateur Squad who are expected to turn professional in 2022 will continue to receive support from Golf Canada during their transition.
The National Junior Squad features 25 athletes (12 women and 13 men).
In September, Golf Canada hosted a selection camp at TPC Toronto in Caledon, Ont., for additional training and performance opportunities for junior golfers in contention for the National Junior Squad. In partnership with the Provincial Golf Associations and personal coaches, all golfers participated in a series of testing modules followed by a 54-hole competition.
National Junior Squad players will be supported with coaching from the Golf Canada national coaching staff and by experts in the areas of mental performance, physiotherapy, biomechanics, and nutrition.
From March through early May, some Junior Squad members will practice out of Golf Canada’s National Training Centre at Bear Mountain—the fifth year that the program has provided spring training for athletes during the second semester of their school year.
Golf Canada is pleased to announce the 2022 Team Canada coaching staff that will support both the National Amateur and Junior Squads.
For the amateur squads, Derek Ingram of Winnipeg, Man., returns as men’s head coach with support from new assistant coaches Benoit Lemieux of Montréal, Qué., and Louis Melanson from Moncton, N.B. On the women’s side, Tristan Mullally of Dundas, Ont., returns as head coach, supported by assistant coach Salimah Mussani of Vancouver as well as an additional women’s assistant coach to be named in the coming weeks.
On the junior side, Robert Ratcliffe of Comox, B.C., will lead the Junior Squads, supported by assistant coach Jennifer Greggain, of Langford, B.C.
Athletes will also access Team Canada’s sport science team, which includes physiotherapists Greg Redman and Andrea Kosa, psychologist Dr. Adrienne Leslie-Toogood, and strength and conditioning coach Bryan Katz. Junior athletes will also receive supplemental support from the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific in the areas of mental performance and nutrition.
Ingram, Mullally, Ratcliffe, Greggain, Mussani, Lemieux and Melanson are all PGA of Canada members.
Golf Canada links with PUMA Golf to infuse style and performance into Team Canada program
Golf Canada and PUMA Golf have announced an expansion of their partnership, naming PUMA as the Official Apparel and Headwear Partner of Golf Canada’s National Team Program.
As part of the three-year agreement, Team Canada players, coaches, and support staff with the National Amateur and Junior Squads will exclusively wear PUMA’s premium golf apparel and headwear when representing Team Canada. In addition, athletes and coaches named to Team Canada for the 2024 Olympic Golf Competition in Paris will also wear PUMA Golf’s apparel and headwear as part of the field-of-play uniform kit.
“PUMA Golf has become an incredibly strong and integrated supporter across a number of Golf Canada programs and properties, and we are extremely proud to extend that partnership across high performance and our National Team Program,” said Golf Canada Chief Commercial Officer John Sibley. “This a very exciting period in Canadian high-performance golf and we are excited to begin outfitting Team Canada athletes, coaches and support staff in PUMA’s extensive collection of advanced performance apparel and headwear.”
That collection includes numerous innovative technologies, including the company’s breakthrough CLOUDSPUN and MATTR material in its apparel. The extension of Puma Canada’s support into Golf Canada’s National Team Program represents a deeper, stronger, and more integrated partnership with the National Sport Federation that dates back many years. In 2014, COBRA PUMA GOLF became the official headwear, apparel, footwear and equipment partner for Golf Canada’s Junior Skills Challenge, an interactive program focused on developing the key golf skills of putting, chipping, and driving among youth.
“We are very excited to support all the talented athletes and staff within the Team Canada High Performance Program and strengthen our partnership with Golf Canada,” said Dwayne Boecker, Head of Golf at COBRA PUMA GOLF – Canada. “This opportunity to connect with the next generation of great players in this country will broaden our brand appeal and presence in golf. The iconic PUMA Cat owns a rich history in international competition, and we look forward to seeing Canada’s best amateur golfers continue that success in our gear.”
Team Canada athletes, coaches and support staff will wear official PUMA Golf apparel and headwear when representing Canada beginning November 1, 2021, through to the end of 2024. The full roster of 2022 Team Canada athletes and coaches named to the National Amateur and Junior Squads will be announced next week.
Canada captures 2nd place finish in combined team event at Spirit International
TRINITY, Texas – A pair of Canadians made their mark south of the border in Saturday’s final round of the Spirit International at Whispering Pines Golf Club.
Johnny Travale of Stoney Creek, Ont., led the way for the Canadians in the men’s division. The 20-year-old held the lead for the opening two rounds and closed with a solo third finish at 3 under par (67-71-75). Teammate Henry Lee of Coquitlam, B.C., finished the stroke play event at 2 over par — good for a ninth place tie.
Collectively, the Canadian men finished alone in third place with a combined score of 431 (137-143-151). Pacing the group were the Swedes, who finished two strokes ahead at 3 under par, followed by the Americans at 2 under.
In the women’s division, former Drive, Chip & Putt champion Savannah Grewal impressed with a third place finish. The Mississauga, Ont., native played a consistent tournament with rounds of 71-69-71 to close at 5 under par. Fellow countrywoman Noémie Paré of Victoriaville, Que., finished in a tie for 27th at 15 over par.
Together the women finished in sole possession of sixth place at 10 over par collectively. The United States took home the title, followed by Switzerland in second and France in third.
In the combined event, Canada finished in second place behind the United States with a score of 7 under. The 54-hole competition combined each country’s top-three scores from each round of play, with the high score being discarded.
Coach Salimah Mussani accompanied the teams in Texas and was more than pleased with the results.
“We’re very proud of what this group accomplished this week in such a prestigious event on the calendar,” said Mussani, a PGA of Canada Class ‘A’ member. “There are many positives to build on and we can’t wait to get back to work to keep striving for strong results across the board.”
The Spirit alumni have gone on to win over 650 professional titles, 25 major championships and 17 Olympic appearances. They include 16 PGA Tour winners, 25 European Tour winners, 23 LPGA Tour winners and 21 Ladies European Tour winners.
The event featured world-class amateurs from over 20 countries across six continents. Conducted at the Whispering Pines Golf Club since its inception in 2001, the Spirit is a biennial event alternating years with the World Amateur Team Championship. The Spirit is hosted by the World Health & Golf Association, a charitable organization dedicated to promoting amateur golf for the benefit of health related reasons.
Conners, Hughes & Pendrith inducted into Kent State Hall of Fame
Mackenzie Hughes, Corey Conners, Taylor Pendrith (Getty Images)
Lara Kuipers/ Golf Canada
The Canadian trio of Corey Conners, Mackenzie Hughes, and Taylor Pendrith were inducted together into the Kent State University Varsity “K” Hall of Fame as members of the 2021 Class on Oct. 9.
“Kent State has meant the world to my family. I met my wife Jenna there. We named our first son, Kenton, after Kent,” said Hughes in a tweet on Monday.
Hughes, from Dundas, Ont., was the first of the three current PGA TOUR golfers to make the journey to Kent State University in Kent, Ohio to play for the men’s golf team. Hughes played on the team between 2008 and 2012 and was named the MAC Freshman of the Year in his first season and was named to the First Team All-MAC in his sophomore, junior, and senior seasons.
Conners, from Listowel, Ont., and Pendrith, from Richmond Hill, Ont., joined their fellow Ontario native at Kent State for the 2010-2011 season, and they both played for the Golden Flashes until 2014.
Both Pendrith and Conners were named to the First Team All-MAC in their corresponding sophomore, junior and senior seasons. And while Conners was named the MAC Golfer of the Year for the 2011-12 season, Pendrith grabbed the MAC Golfer of the Year title for the following season. Conners and Pendrith were named the MAC Golfer of the Year together in their senior season.
Following his time at Kent State, Hughes went to the Mackenzie Tour the following golf season in 2013, where he finished first on the Order of Merit, earning him Korn Ferry Tour status for the 2014 season. Hughes eventually earned PGA TOUR status a few years later, for the 2017 season, where he’d go on to win The RSM Classic in just his fifth event of the season.
In 2020, Hughes advanced to the TOUR Championship for the first time, finishing on the FedEx Cup standings at No. 14.
Following his time playing for the Golden Flashes, Conners joined the Mackenzie Tour in 2015, and then the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica in 2016. He earned status on the Korn Ferry Tour for 2017, and after just one season, Conners quickly moved up the ranks to join his Kent State teammate, Hughes, on the top tour. In April 2019, Conners entered the Monday Qualifier to get into the Valero Texas Open field, and then went on to earn his first career PGA TOUR win at the event. He’d later advance to the TOUR Championship that same season, and again in 2021.
Joining his Kent State teammates on the PGA TOUR for the first time this season is Pendrith, who earned his status after finishing No. 7 on the Korn Ferry Tour’s point list for the combined 2020-21 season. Like Conners, Pendrith first joined the Mackenzie Tour in 2015. He’d go on to bounce between the Canadian tour and the Korn Ferry Tour over the course of five years before breaking through to the PGA TOUR in 2021.
Salimah Mussani named Assistant Coach of Golf Canada’s National Women’s Amateur and Young Pro Squads
Salimah Mussani has been named Assistant Coach of Golf Canada’s National Women’s Amateur and Young Pro Squads. Working alongside head coach Tristan Mullally, Mussani will play an integral part in the development of Canada’s top female amateur and professional golfers.
Mussani is a PGA of Canada class “A” professional who was born in Ontario and now resides in Vancouver. She played golf and graduated from Stanford University before competing as a professional on the Symetra and LPGA Tours, as well as the former Canadian Women’s Tour.
A two-time Ontario Junior champion and two-time Canadian Junior champion, Mussani brings a wealth of competitive experience having won seven professional events worldwide – including an event on the Symetra Tour, two Canadian Women’s Tour events, and the PGA of Canada Women’s Championship.
“Salimah brings a wealth of high-performance experience, both playing and coaching from her time on various Tours and coaching in the NCAA,” said Mullally, head coach of the National Women’s Amateur and Young Professional Squads. “She is an amazing addition to our coaching staff and an essential part of supporting Canadian players in their quest for professional success.”
Mussani’s first coaching assignment was as an assistant coach of the women’s golf team at Stanford University from 2008-2010. Since returning to Canada, Mussani has served as a volunteer assistant to the University of British Columbia’s Golf Team and currently works as an instructor at a number of established clubs in British Columbia, including the Vancouver Golf Club.
Joey Savoie: Amateur standout eager for professional success
Captured at TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley on September, 11, 2020 by Tyler Costigan/ Golf Canada
Joey Savoie has long been one of the top amateur golfers in Canada and the 26-year-old is now eager to translate that success onto the professional ranks.
Golf Canada recently announced that the native of La Prairie, Que., will be returning for his second year with the Young Pro Program. In total, Savoie will be entering his fourth year with the National Team Program – having spent 2018 and 2019 as part of the Amateur Squad.
The talented young golfer still remembers first learning that he made the National Team back in 2018.
“It was my final year of college and I got a call from Derek (Ingram) and he told me that I made the team. I was graduating in accounting from Middle Tennessee State University and getting that call changed the plan a little bit,” he recalled.
“My first year was super exciting and just being part the program and getting to compete in tournaments around the world and representing Canada has been amazing in general.”
The Middle Tennessee State University grad was named the Canadian Men’s Amateur Golfer of the Year in 2018. That season would see him win the Franklin American Mortgage Tennessee Open and the Grant Clements Memorial Tournament. During Savoie’s time with the National Amateur Squad, he rose to number 24 on the world amateur rankings.
According to Ingram, Savoie’s time with the program has been well spent.
“Every area of Joey’s game has gotten a little better. He has excellent habits and routines and is a very good iron player and putter,” said the Canadian Men’s National Team head coach.
“His set up and grip have improved and Joey is now starting to see the benefits of his hard work with both myself and his home coach, Dan (Langevin). Joey’s bunker player has also really improved and he has more shots around the green. He has really matured in every area of the game.”
Savoie is quick to point out that membership in the National Team Program has it’s privileges.
“It’s great to work with Derek and learn from him and it’s also been great to take part in all the training camps. I don’t where I would be if I didn’t receive that support from Golf Canada,” he pointed out.
“Travelling the world and playing in big competitions was out of my budget so being part of the program gave me an opportunity that I’m really grateful for.”
Currently in his second year with the Young Pro Program, Savoie’s focus is to translate that amateur success onto the professional ranks.
As he is prepares for the upcoming season, Savoie took time to reflect on his humble beginnings in the sport which began in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu – a suburb approximately half an hour southeast of Montreal.
The 26-year-old recalls that his father, Pierre Savoie, and his mother, Helene Savoie, were both very supportive of his interest in golf.
“We were living on a par three course on the seventh hole as I remember. It’s public golf course in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and I got started when I was around six years old,” Savoie reminisced.
“Everyone from my mom’s side of the family was passionate about golf – especially my uncle, who played professionally,” he continued.
Savoie adds that his uncle, Jean-Louis Lamarre, was actually their neighbour.
“When I went over to his house I would see all his trophies and all his golf clubs and everything so I was intrigued at a young age. Given that everyone on my mom’s side of the family played golf and combine that with the fact that my uncle was a professional golfer, it made we want to try the game.”
And as the story goes young Joey would quickly find his passion on the golf course.
“I remember just wanting to hit the golf ball. That feeling of hitting the ball was just so fun. I was lucky to be living with the nicest play ground ever with a golf course in my backyard and I would often grab my entire bag in my free time and just try to drive the green,” he recalled.
“My granddad was also an avid golfer so since he was retired, he would sometimes pick me up after school to play 9 holes.”
While he got his start at the age of six, it wasn’t until several years later that Savoie competed in his first tournament.
“I play my first competition when I was just 10 or 11 years old. I was playing in a one round tournament to determine the provincial champion for that age category; and as I can remember I won by two shots,” Savoie revealed.
“It was kind of shock to be honest. It was my first tournament so didn’t really know what to expect. I was competitive and wanted to win, but it was my first event and I didn’t put any expectation on winning. I remember thinking ‘Oh, I beat all those guys?’ So it was just a pleasant surprise.”
After that Savoie says his parents put him into more tournaments and he started taking the sport more seriously.
“When I was 13, I think I won every tournament I played in that year, including the provincials and I was really into golf at that age and I dreamed of one day playing on the PGA Tour,” said Savoie.
“But then I grew a foot over the next year and it affected my results and it took some time to adjust to that big change,” he added.
Growing up as a student of the game, the six foot one inch Savoie says he idolized Mike Weir and Tiger Woods.
“Mike Weir is someone I really looked up to. Mike winning the Masters is a special accomplishment and something Canadian golf fans will always remember. And growing up, Tiger was such a big superstar and had so much success and he made the sport very vibrant and cool to watch,” Savoie noted.
The talented young Canadian is eager to achieve his own version of greatness on the golf course one day but he knows it can only come one step at a time. Savoie believes having a place on the Young Pro Squad sets him up for success in the pursuit of his goals.
With a hectic schedule over the past few years, Savoie says the pandemic has actually given him a chance to slow things down and reflect on his journey; and that has allowed him to achieve greater clarity on his goals.
As he looks ahead, Savoie’s goal is to enjoy success on the Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada this year. And within the next five years, the Young Pro Squad member has visions of making his way onto the Korn Ferry Tour, and ultimately, onto the PGA Tour.
Ingram believes with continued improvements, Savoie has what it takes to achieve his dreams.
“The top priority would be to continue to improve his ball striking as it can be a bit inconsistent. Sometimes it’s excellent, while other times there’s a few too many mistakes off the tee. But Joey is making progress,” he said.
“It’s super early in his development as a new pro as his first year was a pandemic year so he has to continue on his path of learning to be a pro, travelling and competing,” Ingram continued.
“Joey could also get a little longer but I believe he has the ability and habits to be a PGA Tour player.”
Savoie is inspired by the meaningful words coming from such a highly respected coach who has worked with other talented young Canadians to achieve their dreams in the sport. The second year Young Pro Squad member is also inspired by the success of others who have been through the program, such as Mackenzie Hughes, Corey Conners and Adam Hadwin – to name just a few.
“It really does inspire me. And it’s good to have other players as mentors and friends to speak to also because we are all going through the same journey. It’s fun to see those guys do well because we are all on the same team,” said Savoie.
“The players on the Young Pro Squad now might be at different stages in our career but we all have potential and a ton of work ethic to try to reach our goals,” he added.
“Ever since I was I kid, my dream was to play on the PGA Tour so I’m grateful to be in the position I’m in right now; and I’m prepared to make the most out of this opportunity.”
“When you bring this talent together and bring them to one place, this opportunity to train together and help each other get better, that’s really unique and one of the biggest opportunities for this program and our juniors,” said Greggain, who added that when she was a high-level amateur she would loved to have been around other elite golfers her age.
Greggain has a wealth of experience to draw from, having played on the LPGA and Symetra Tours for 10 years before becoming a coach.
“When I retired from tour, I realized pretty quickly that what I wanted to do when I grew up was to coach,” said Greggain with a laugh.
Greggain was the director of instruction at Chilliwack Golf Club, the assistant coach for the University of the Fraser Valley, and led the B.C. Summer Games Squad on numerous occasions.
In January she joined the national team program as assistant coach of the women’s amateur and young pro squads with Tristan Mullally before she transitioned into her new role.
Greggain will help guide mental performance, physiotherapy, biomechanics and nutrition for the Canada’s top golfers while she continues her studies at the University of British Columbia’s Master of High Performance and Technical Leadership program.
The junior teams – boys and girls will train together – will be based at the national training centre at Bear Mountain Golf Resort in Victoria, which going forward will have a centralized component from March through June. Athletes will stay at the national training centre during their second semester at high school.
“I really like the model of the junior program because we have this centralized component which gives you a little more consistent contact,” said Greggain.
Jennifer Greggain named coach of Golf Canada’s National Junior Squads
PGA of Canada member Jennifer Greggain has been named coach of the National Junior Squads by Golf Canada.
Working alongside head coach Robert Ratcliffe, Greggain will help guide mental performance, physiotherapy, biomechanics and nutrition for the Canada’s top athletes. Coaching will be based at the national training centre at Bear Mountain in Victoria, B.C., featuring a centralized component from March through June which provides accommodation and education for athletes during their high school second semester.
Greggain, a resident of Chilliwack, B.C., transitions into the role after joining the national team program as assistant coach of the Women’s Amateur and Young Pro Squads in January of 2020.
Prior to joining Golf Canada, Greggain was the director of instruction at Chilliwack Golf Club, the assistant coach for the University of the Fraser Valley, and led the B.C. Summer Games Squad on numerous occasions. Before her coaching career, she was an accomplished player for more than 10 years on the LPGA and Symetra Tours.
“Jennifer brings a strong background in competitive golf to compliment a wealth of coaching knowledge that will continue to fill the pipeline with high performance athletes,” said head coach Robert Ratcliffe.
She’s both TPI and K-Vest certified and last June she enrolled in the University of British Columbia’s Master of High Performance and Technical Leadership program. Greggain is the recipient of the 2018 PGA of Canada Jack McLaughlin Junior Leader of the Year.
Coaches proud of Canadian success on PGA Tour for 2019-20 season
Corey Conners (Getty Images)
John Chidley-Hill/ Canadian Press
Although 2019-20 was a strange, start-and-stop season on the PGA Tour, it was also arguably the best-ever campaign for Canadian golfers.
Mackenzie Hughes, Adam Hadwin, Corey Conners and Nick Taylor have at various points this season all been in the top 100 of the men’s world golf rankings – a new high for Canadian players – and Taylor Pendrith tore it up on the second-tier Korn Ferry Tour.
Derek Ingram, the men’s head coach for Golf Canada, has worked with all five players and said he believes that their success this past season – after the PGA resumed following a three-month break caused by the COVID-19 pandemic – is because of the group’s esprit de corps.
“There’s just a real great Team Canada feel on the PGA Tour,” said Ingram. “These guys eat together, they train together, they practise together, in the evenings because of the bubble they’re having dinner together. Each one of them pushes them to get better.”
Ingram added that there are other factors to the Canadian contingent’s success. He credits the influence of Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., whose 2003 Masters win served as an inspiration for an entire generation of Canadian golfers as well as the development programs of provincial golf associations.
Hughes, from Dundas, Ont., drew most of the attention to close out the 2019-20 season, which officially ended on Monday with the final round of the Tour Championship.
After missing nine of 11 cuts to start the season, Hughes finished second at the Honda Classic on March 1. Hughes refocused himself during the pandemic break and rocketed up the FedEx Cup standings, qualifying for the 30-player Tour Championship with a nail-biting finish at the BMW Championship where he tied for 10th.
Hughes finished the season 14th in the FedEx Cup standings after a solid performance at the Tour Championship, the highest-ever year-end ranking for a Canadian. He’ll also play in next week’s U.S. Open along with Hadwin, Conners and Pendrith in the second week of the 2020-21 season.
“They’re doing unreal,” said Ingram. “Really, the credit goes to the players and their families and how hard they’ve worked. I just can’t tell you how thrilled I am for them as a fan and as a coach of the national team.”
Pendrith, who does not yet have full PGA Tour status, earned his way into the U.S. Open with his strong and consistent play that has put him at No. 4 on the Korn Ferry Tour’s points list heading into this week’s Evans Scholars Invitational.
Another important factor has been the role of NCAA programs in developing professional golfers.
Herb Page of Markham, Ont., retired as the head coach of Kent State University’s men’s golf team last summer but is still in touch with Hughes, Conners, and Pendrith, all of whom he coached through their collegiate days at the Ohio school.
“They’ve just got someone to lean on, they’ve got that friendly face,” said Page on how camaraderie has benefited the Canadians. “It’s a tough, lonely grind out there, especially this year when you can’t bring your wife or your kids.
“I think even moreso this year (those friendships) are important.”
Although Hughes, Hadwin, Conners, and Taylor get the lion’s share of the attention among the Canadians on tour, they’re not the only ones plying their trade on the PGA.
Graham DeLaet of Weyburn, Sask., will make his return to action at the season opening Safeway Open at Silverado Resort and Spa North in Napa, Calif., on Thursday. He hasn’t played since January when back pain derailed his season.
Roger Sloan of Merritt, B.C., David Hearn of Brantford, Ont., and Michael Gligic of Burlington, Ont., will also be in the field. Ingram said that the depth of Canadian talent in men’s professional golf is also a boon for the sport.
“I’m just thrilled for golf in Canada and for the guys that have been working hard for a long time,” said Ingram. “We’ve never been deeper.”