Vernon’s Jim Cotter, right, and John Morris of Calgary discuss strategy. (CCA/Michael Burns)

Morris in Regina Tour Challenge

John Morris opens the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season in the Tour Challenge Tuesday in Regina.

John Morris opens the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season in the Tour Challenge Tuesday in Regina.

Morris, a Calgary firefighter, and Jim Cotter of Vernon team up in the 15-team Tier 1 event at the Co-Operators Centre at Evraz Place. There is $2 million up for grabs in the Grand Slam this season.

With Rick Sawatsky of Kelowna on injured reserve, Morris will insert Catlin Schneider of Saskatchewan at second and move Ty Griffith of Kelowna to lead as they face Norway’s Steffen Walstad in Tuesday afternoon’s first draw.

Morris, who skips and throws third stones, won his 11th career title in the Pinty’s GSOC series last season at the Princess Auto Elite 10. For Cotter and Griffith, it was their first elite-level title in the series. The team represented B.C. at the Tim Hortons Brier and just missed the playoffs with a 7-4 record.

Morris meets Brad Jacobs in an early Wednesday matinee, goes up against Reid Carruthers of Winnipeg Thursday night and battles Steve Laycock of Saskatoon Friday afternoon.

Sportsnet’s coverage of the Tour Challenge gets underway on Thursday, Sept. 7 at 2:30 p.m. ET / 11:30 a.m. PT on Sportsnet and Sportsnet NOW.

Marking the first time Regina plays host to a Grand Slam event, the Tour Challenge will shine the spotlight on the top 30 men’s and the top 30 women’s teams from around the world.

The 60 teams will be divided into two tiers of 15 men’s and 15 women’s squads. Competing in a round-robin style bonspiel, the Tier 1 teams will be contending for a combined $200,000 purse, while the Tier 2 teams compete for $100,000 in prize money.

Winners of the Tier 1 event will receive invitations to the Humpty’s Champions Cup in Calgary (April 24-29, 2018), while the Tier 2 champions will secure a spot in the Mastersevent in October.

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