2008 RBC Canadian Open Back On Track
by Scott A. Sumner
The 2008 RBC Canadian Open, third oldest golf championship in the world after the British and US Open’s and started 104 years ago is making a comeback. After attending the event as accredited media since 1996 you could feel the new atmosphere that this national championship deserves. This resurgence has come about with much effort including
through the efforts of James Kinnear, President of Pengrowth, a $6.5 Billion dollar Calgary based oil and gas company.
“Our company started our involvement at the Canadian Open in 1997 at Royal Montreal. A few years ago Bell Canada were starting to wind down their involvement in the event and we wanted to change things around and bring the luster back. After the Pro am last year at Angus
Glen we had a luncheon and invited a number of business people and professional golfers such as Jim Furyk. Furyk made an impassioned plea that this was a national event that deserves support. Our thought was to get other people to join us in sponsoring the event and at the end of the day RBC decide to take on the naming right for the Canadian Open,” said James Kinnear. “We are really pleased they decided to become the major sponsor. The million dollar shoot out at the water front was great idea to increase exposure for the event. This year we have the Pengrowth concert series with Blue Rodeo, 54- 40 and Tom Cochrane to add a festival feel. Monday we had the Score Golf awards dinner and the The Pengrowth Pro Am dinner was on Wednesday. There is lots to do at the RBC Canadian Open.”
The Chalet with RBC & Pengrowth is amazing and expanded enthusiasm and created a buzz in th air. “ We are starting to make some progress. It may take 3 to 5 years but we have had a good start. RBC has brought good interest in the event,” said Kinnear. “ I started golfing when I was knee high to a grasshopper. I play as a participant but since moving to Calgary 28 years ago we have been busy building a business there. We do maintain our interest in the game.”
Jim Kinnear started his career in London, England, spent 2 years in Toronto subsequently and then worked 8 years in Montreal with DW Taylor Limited, a money manager search firm where he was a partner. In 1980 Kinnear moved to Calgary to invest in oil and gas properties. “ We started with a very small base of $200 dollars.Our start was buying producing properties, the first with a pension fund for $14 million- Pengrowth Petroleum in late 1985. In 1988 we started this fund Pengrowth Gas Income Fund with a modest capital of $12. 5 million and
since then have raised $3.45 billion in equity with 19 offerings. The current market capitalization is just under $5 billion Cdn and our enterprise value in $6.5 billion CND developed over 28 years, noted Kinnear. “ We are a mid sized cap in the industry. Our production is about 88,000 barrels per day with reserves of about 320 million barrels
equivalent so it is a good sized fund. We trade actively in Toronto and New York on a daily basis with good activity. The fund has provided a 18 to 20 % compound return. Our cash on cash yield is about 14% so that is attractive in the environment today. We have over 600 people in the company.”
Kinnear and his team believe in giving back to the communities in which their people live and work. In Banff the Kinnear Centre for Creativity and Innovation is a facility that will encourage leadership and management development. It is underway now and will be a $70 to 80 million building. Kinnear gave $5 million and is raising another $5 million for the project. The RBC Canadian Open is a tournament for all of Canada and one day Kinnear would like to have the event in Calgary. He is a member of many exclusive clubs and plays 30 to 40
rounds per year with a handicap around 11.
“ We like to get involved in community projects. You have to maintain a steady hand in life and business. You never forget where you came from.” said Jim Kinnear who grew up in a middle class background and is 60 years old.