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New sponsor saves Canadian Women's Open

The Royal Canadian Golf Association saved the Canadian Women's Open from dropping off the LPGA Tour schedule, agreeing to a three-year sponsorship deal Wednesday with Canadian National Railway.

CN Rail also has an option for an additional two years under the deal that includes the Canadian Women's Tour and the Future Links developmental program.

``This is an exciting day for golf in Canada. We would like to thank CN for stepping up to support three very important programs,'' RCGA executive director Stephen D. Ross said. ``Thanks to the support of CN we will continue to operate and grow these vital national programs over the next five years. It's exciting that two storied Canadian institutions have partnered for the continued growth of golf in this country.''

CN Rail replaces Bank of Montreal, which left the event's future in serious doubt when it ended its five-year deal after the July tournament in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

``We were needed,'' CN Rail CEO Hunter Harrison said. ``We've had some financial success, or else we wouldn't be able to do this.''

Rick Desrochers, chief operating officer for the RCGA, said the tournament would have survived, but would not have been an LPGA Tour event without a title sponsor.

``The thinking was that we'd do a cut-down version for a year and continue to look for a sponsor,'' he said. ``But the Canadian Women's Open was not going to go away.''

The 2006 tournament will be played Aug. 10-13 at the Hunt Club in London, Ontario. The 2007 event is set for the Mayfair Club in Edmonton, Alberta.

October 20, 2005

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