PGA: Mo­men­tum key to tour growth

Inside Golf - - News -

FOL­LOW­ING one of the big­gest sea­sons of Aus­tralian golf in decades, the PGA says the an­nounce­ment of two new ex­cit­ing tour­na­ments is a big vote of con­fi­dence for the PGA Tour of Aus­trala­sia in 2012.

With last month’s launch of the Perth In­ter­na­tional Golf Cham­pi­onship and the NZ PGA Pro-am Cham­pi­onship, the PGA says prize­money on the Tour will in­crease by at least AU$2.3 mil­lion in 2012 but it is hoped that this is just the start of things to come.

“The PGA has worked with a num­ber of stake­hold­ers over the past few years to en­sure the growth of our own do­mes­tic tour for the ben­e­fit of our PGA pro­fes­sion­als and the wider Aus­tralian golf com­mu­nity,” said Brian Thor­burn, CEO of the PGA.

“With these two new tour­na­ments and with the con­tin­ued growth of Onea­sia, we are con­stantly work­ing to­wards a vi­brant do­mes­tic and re­gional tour­na­ment plat­form for our grow­ing elite ranks.”

Thor­burn said that the two new­est tour­na­ments will bring a 41% in­crease on prize­money from 2011, but if all goes to plan, there may be additional in­creases in months to come.

“Over the last month Aus­tralian golf has show­cased our best cour­ses, the world’s best play­ers and made big in­roads to se­cur­ing additional cor­po­rate sup­port. We are very op­ti­mistic that we can keep this mo­men­tum go­ing into 2012.

“Our mis­sion with the PGA Tour of Aus­trala­sia is to make our tour­na­ments ac­ces­si­ble to both re­gional and met­ro­pol­i­tan mar­kets and con­tin­u­ally in­no­vate to en­sure tour­na­ment golf re­mains a great en­ter­tain­ment spec­ta­cle and thus an at­trac­tive propo­si­tion for cor­po­rate Aus­tralia.”

“We al­ready know that 2012 will show­case a num­ber of new and dif­fer­ent golf cour­ses and a range of in­no­va­tive tour­na­ment for­mats and this all con­trib­utes to our abil­ity to mar­ket both the Tour and the game of golf.”

Key to this strat­egy will also be se­cur­ing more ‘big names’ to play in Tour events.

“We have al­ready had great in­ter­est from a num­ber of high pro­file play­ers for 2012. While we can’t com­pete for prize­money with the likes of the PGA tour and the Euro­pean Tour, we cer­tainly have a rep­u­ta­tion for world class golf cour­ses and our tour­na­ment hos­pi­tal­ity– Dar­ren Clarke was a great ex­am­ple of that this year at Coolum.”

Whilst at Coolum, Clarke, the reign­ing Open cham­pion, was so im­pressed with the hos­pi­tal­ity shown to him that he made a sur­prise visit to the Queens­land Govern­ment’s mar­quee to share a beer and thank them for host­ing him for the week.

Clarke later tweeted to his 100,000 plus fol­low­ers; ‘Dif­fer­ent pro­fes­sional golf tours around the world could learn from the Aus Pga... they know how to run tour­na­ments!’

The 2012 PGA Tour of Aus­trala­sia sched­ule kicks off this month at Spring Val­ley Golf Club with the in­no­va­tive Vic­to­rian Open which will be run con­cur­rently with the Women’s Vic­to­rian Open.

The fol­low­ing week, on the 10th and 11th Jan­uary, Kingston Heath Golf Club will once again play host to the 36-hole In­ter­na­tional Fi­nal Qual­i­fy­ing (IFQ) where three cov­eted po­si­tions into the Open Cham­pi­onship will be up for grabs.

A few weeks later the Vic­to­rian PGA Cham­pi­onship will be held from 16-19 Fe­bru­ary and will be played for the first time at the Novo­tel For­est Re­sort, Creswick.

The in­au­gu­ral NZ PGA Pro-am Cham­pi­onship will take place from 29 March to 1 April at The Hills in Queen­stown. The tour­na­ment, a part­ner­ship be­tween the NZ PGA and The Hills, (owned by Sir Michael Hill) will of­fer to­tal prize money of NZD$500,000.

In­spired by the Al­fred Dun­hill Links Cham­pi­onship, the event builds on the NZ PGA Cham­pi­onship. Pro­fes­sion­als will play for the NZ PGA Cham­pi­onship over four rounds, but in a unique event for­mat, 64 in­vited ama­teurs and celebri­ties will be each paired with one of the 64 pro­fes­sion­als that make the cut, play­ing to­gether as a team for the NZ PGA Pro-am Cham­pi­onship over the fi­nal two days.

Later in the year, The Perth In­ter­na­tional Golf Cham­pi­onship will tee off from 18-21 Oc­to­ber at Lake Kar­rinyup Coun­try Club in Perth. IMG will be the owner and pro­moter of the $2mil­lion tour­na­ment, which will be sanc­tioned by the Euro­pean Tour and the PGA Tour of Aus­trala­sia.

The full 2012 PGA Tour of Aus­trala­sia sched­ule is ex­pected to con­sist of 14 events and will be re­leased soon.

Dar­ren Clarke is one of many tour­ing pro­fes­sion­als who are vo­cal fans of Aus­tralia’s world-class events

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