PGA may stay at Clive’s
SUNSHINE Coast golf fans mourning the apparent loss of the Australian PGA Championship are being told to expect a miraculous resurrection.
PGA executives confirmed yesterday they were considering a revised Clive Palmer offer to keep the event at his Palmer Coolum Resort.
The sudden turnaround followed an announcement early yesterday by a confident Mr Palmer that the premier tournament would remain at Coolum for five more years.
"It would be wrong to say the flame has gone out; hope is still alive," he told an early-morning media conference.
CEO of the PGA of Australia, Brian Thorburn, confirmed the resort had submitted a fresh offer to continue hosting the tournament next year and beyond.
"It goes without saying that we are committed to achieving the best outcome for the tournament and our players, and the resort's offer will be considered by our board next Wednesday," Mr Thorburn said.
The development follows a turbulent week that had Mr Palmer and PGA officials at loggerheads over signage.
PGA officials announced the event was lost to the Sunshine Coast due to disagreements over sponsorship.
The mining magnate yesterday brushed aside those issues while renaming the ninth hole of the resort course the John Fitzgerald Kennedy 9th Hole Memorial, in memory of the assassinated US president, who was one of Mr Palmer's heroes.
"I'm very confident the PGA will be here for the next five years. I'm sure that will be the case and I'm sure the PGA knows that too," Mr Palmer said.
"There's been some very good dialogue between the board and us, and I'm very confident we can reach a resolution, so that people can come here.
"The players made their position very clear earlier in the week that this is where they wanted to come."
But Mr Palmer said while the resort would provide the venue and support services, it would not contribute around $1 million in sponsorship as was believed to have been the case in the past.
"We're offering them, all up, more than any other golf course in Australia, that's the bottom line, and if they come here that's why they'll come here, and I'm sure they will."
Several regions, including the Gold Coast and Yeppoon, have launched bids to host the championship.