‘Signing day’: Golf Digest president reveals his plans for Canada’s future as new sponsor of the Vanier Cup

Keith Pelley made no secret that Golf Digest’s multi-million dollar sponsorship deal with Golf Canada would be “signing day,” but the president of the company behind the iconic magazine insisted that he knew something bigger was brewing.

“I think it was a tiny little insight that was hard for me to share,” he said in Toronto on Thursday after the brand announced it would become the exclusive sponsor of men’s amateur golf competition, the Vanier Cup. “Because I think as I was walking through the halls of the office the last two to three days, the team started to realize just the significance of this.”

Throughout the conversation with the magazine’s managing editor, Bob Peak, Pelley revealed that he has long-fought for the opportunity to take Canadian men’s golf to the next level.

“I knew, in my business, for years, that this is what we needed to do for Canadian Golf to advance the whole sport,” he said. “Because Canada is a great country with a great history of amateur golf, and I thought we needed to back it up more to the elite level.”

Like with the sponsorship of Golf Canada, the U.S.-based company also confirmed it would introduce some new products with proceeds benefiting the Vanier Cup, Canadian Golf’s championship tournament for both men and women.

In order to continue its expansion into golf’s top leagues, Golf Canada appointed Keku Management Group earlier this year to oversee its move into more lucrative sponsorship agreements. Pelley said it was fortunate to be in a position to keep Hockey Canada as an original partner while also growing outside of the four major sports.

“Maybe the key to all this is that we do not just look at logos or words,” he said. “We look at the athlete. And the athlete must be part of that product offering, whether it’s in a Titleist or Brooks or Callaway, or Ingersoll or Pinnacle. We want to be involved in that product offering because we know it is going to make sure we can grow.

He also warned against recent events, in which sanctions are being handed out to student athletes after social media comments made headlines around the world.

“Like everyone, we’re concerned,” he said. “In that backdrop we want to make sure we’re very careful. The right thing happens and we’re OK with that. But we want to make sure we’re very careful and there is a very clear process that has to take place.”

Read the full story at The Canadian Press.


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