As Tournament Director for the RBC Canadian Open Championship, Paul has become one of Canada’s foremost PGA TOUR experts, building countless relationships with tour players and staff around the globe.
Bill Paul can recall many memorable moments over his two decades as Tournament Director for the RBC Canadian Open Golf Championship. But he counts the 2000 Canadian Open as a high point and it’s easy to see why. Tiger Woods achieved golf history at the Glen Abbey Golf Course in Oakville that year, winning the tournament and the Triple Crown of golf.
Just as memorable as Woods’ win, according to Paul, were the behind-the-scenes efforts to recruit the celebrity golfer, along with his visit in 2000. “Within 20 minutes of sending out the press release confirming his participation, the phone calls started,” he recalls. “It was a media circus with helicopters flying over the property. We put in extra phones and hired more staff to handle the volume of calls. I had never seen anything like it before or since.”
Paul has seen golf’s profile soar along with corporate sponsorship funds worth millions. The results have translated into players’ perks that go beyond increased tournament winnings.
“When I started working for the Royal Canadian Golf Association [RCGA] 32 seasons ago, players had to get themselves to the course from the airport, buy their own lunch and their practice range balls,” says Paul. “Now all the players’ needs are met, including services for their families. We were the first on the PGA Tour to offer daycare facilities.”
Paul has seen golf’s profile soar along with corporate sponsorship funds worth millions.
Paul’s seven years on the board of the PGA Tour Tournament Association have given him insight into the expanding future of golf. “I don’t think a world tour of golf is far away. Sponsors want access to international markets. The top players are travelling to tournaments all over the world,” says Paul, noting that the sport’s inclusion in the 2016 Olympics will only add to its globalization.
And this will hopefully lead to the discovery of the next Tiger, adds Paul. “Golf needs heroes to spark interest on the part of young people, both as players and spectators.”
Paul grew up in Oakville with his own set of sports heroes and became an accomplished athlete himself. A varsity football player at Sheridan, where he was named 1981 Athlete of the Year, he was drafted by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. But he was more interested in the business of sport than in actually playing. A summer job with the RCGA during high school eventually led him to accept a full-time position following his graduation from Sheridan’s Business program in 1981.
It’s a decision he doesn’t regret, although he has fielded many offers to work internationally. “There has always been a challenge here. I can’t think of one thing I would change. It has been a great ride.”
Canadian pro golf scores big under Bill Paul’s leadership:
- Attendance at the Canadian Open ranges from 94,000 and 132,000.
- Television viewership in 2013 was over 800 million households worldwide.
- Since 2008, the RBC Canadian Open has raised more than $6.2 million for Canadian children’s charities.
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