Kimberley’s Jared du Toit Intrigued By PGA TOUR’s Proposal For Late Summer Make-Up Events

Jared du Toit Of Kimberley BC Is Intrigued By The PGA TOUR's Hint At Having Some 'Make-up' Events For Players Who Have Been Affected By The Shutdown. James Allenby Of Langley And Riley Wheeldon Of Comox Are Also Interested - Image Credit Bryan Outram/BC Golf

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

This year was supposed to be a golfing adventure of sorts for Jared du Toit, the former B.C. Junior Boys champion who has exempt status on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica circuit.

But instead of visiting and playing in exotic locales like Argentina, Chile, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic, du Toit has been playing all of his golf in the East Kootenays near his Kimberley home. He returned home from his winter base in Arizona in late March and has tried to keep his game in shape, which wasn’t easy at first with snow still on the ground.

“I was hitting indoors,” du Toit says over the phone. “I have this old net from when I was in junior golf and set it back up and went in for an hour a day just to try and stay sharp and work on things. That passed the time for a bit and as soon as the courses opened up I have been playing a ton.

“I played St. Eugene today, I have played Wildstone, Trickle Creek, Copper Point and Cranbrook Golf Club.” He’s enjoyed all of those rounds and says his game is in good shape. But like so many young professionals, du Toit is craving competition these days. “The game feels pretty good. I just want to get out there and compete and put it to the test a bit.”

After winning one of the PGA Tour Latinoamerica qualifying schools in January, only one official event was played in March before everything was put on hold because of COVID-19. The pandemic has hit South America particularly hard, so there seems little chance that any of the schedule will be played. The entire 2020 Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada circuit has already been cancelled.

“It’s been weird,” du Toit says. “You play well in Q-School and you have all this built-up excitement to get the year going. You play one event and they say, we’ll see you guys maybe in a couple of months or maybe in a year.”

Du Toit was intrigued by an email he received this week from the PGA TOUR hinting at the possibility of a series of makeup events later this summer for players who lost starts due to COVID-19. Players were asked if they were interested and to select from a variety of possible locations for the events. Du Toit is intrigued by the idea but needs more information before he’d commit to playing. “I filled out the survey and said I was interested,” du Toit says.

“There are so many question marks right now. I have talked to some guys who are pretty excited about it because there isn’t a ton of events to play in August, September and October and then I have talked to some other guys who kind of think it might be just a big mini-tour event. I lie somewhere in the middle. When they come out with more information and give out locations maybe that will be a little more exciting.”

The email to eligible players on the Mackenzie Tour, PGA Tour Latinoamerica and the PGA China Tour circuits outlines a series of six events. Each event would be 54 holes, with a cut after two rounds. Mackenzie Tour regular Riley Wheeldon of Comox, another former B.C. Junior Boys champion, says he is interested. “I did get the email and I am definitely interested,” Wheeldon says.

“As of now there are not a whole lot of great options at that time of the year. I think some of the fine points need to be banged out and made official, but I think if the Tour supports any kind of mini-tour event in the U.S., guys are going to trust it and want to play. So as of now I am definitely intrigued.”

James Allenby of Langley, who placed 17th on the Mackenzie Tour money list last year, says he would play the events given the right circumstances.  “I haven’t responded yet,” Allenby says. “I think it would be nice to try and do something for their players. It would be something for me to seriously consider.”