The PGA of Australia has confirmed the Australian PGA Championship presented by Coca-Cola has found a new home on Queensland’s Gold Coast at RACV Royal Pines.
Following an extensive search within the Sunshine State where a number of competitive offers were considered, a series of new agreements will now see Australia’s oldest Professional Championship contested on the Gold Coast for the next five years.
The agreements include the renewed support of the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland, as well as investments by RACV, Gold Coast City Council and Gold Coast Tourism.
Brian Thorburn, CEO of the PGA of Australia said that the partnerships will provide major leverage to grow the Championship into one of the biggest events on the Gold Coast calendar.
“This is a significant and exciting day in the history of the Australian PGA Championship,” said Thorburn.
“The Australian PGA Championship presented by Coca-Cola holds great importance to the entire PGA Membership, and the relocation to RACV Royal Pines on the Gold Coast now provides us with the required assets to grow the tournament.”
“With a significant population base and its natural tourism appeal, we now have a wonderful opportunity to attract increased interstate and international visitors to the region and contribute considerably to targets set by Tourism Australia as part of their 2020 vision.”
“The Australian PGA Championship has a reputation for being a fun, relaxed tournament and we think we have the opportunity to not only recreate, but enhance that at RACV Royal Pines. Additionally, the opportunity to work alongside RACV is a significant one, and we’re looking forward to developing a multifaceted partnership over the next five years.”
Thorburn added that while the Championship has enjoyed continued support from the likes of the Queensland Government, Coca-Cola Amatil, Volkswagen and Emirates, he also believes the move will attract a new naming rights sponsor.
“We’d previously had feedback from a number of potential sponsors that they would be interested in key sponsorships if the tournament moved to a region with a larger population base, so we’ve now put the event in the best possible position to reach new heights in terms of entertainment value, prize money and commercial opportunities.”
“While we’ve attracted considerable support from many companies on the Gold Coast, RACV and its sister motoring clubs across Australia, have a combined membership of more than seven million, which provides great opportunities to partner and deliver benefits for this tournament, the PGA in general and the wider industry.”
Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games, Jann Stuckey welcomed the PGA’s decision to host the Championship on Queensland’s Gold Coast.
“I am pleased the organisers have been able to secure a new venue which will allow them to get on with planning for the 2013 tournament to be held later in the year,” Ms Stuckey said.
“As we look toward the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, it is major international sporting events like this that showcase the Gold Coast as a premier event and holiday destination.”
The proud home to the Ladies Masters since 1992, RACV Royal Pines is no stranger to hosting world-class tournaments.
“RACV has excellent golf credentials through its management of four Club and Resort golf courses in Queensland and Victoria, hosting and sponsoring the Ladies Masters, support of Australian Master of the Amateurs tournament, sponsorship of young players and our very successful Golf Membership program, which has almost 3,000 members,” said Sue Blake, Executive General Manager, RACV Club and Resorts.
“RACV is delighted to partner with the PGA of Australia to present this world-class event and we will work closely with the PGA to enhance this tournament including investing $5m over the next three years to make changes to the course that meet the PGA’s requirements.”
The Australian PGA Championship moves to the Gold Coast after 11 years at Coolum.
The Championship however has previously been contested on the Gold Coast on three occasions, at Surfers Paradise (1970 and 1971) and at Burleigh Heads (1975).
2013 will mark the first time in over 10 years that the PGA Tour of Australasia has staged a major tournament on the Gold Coast, the last being the 2001 Australian Open, won by Stuart Appleby.
“The Gold Coast is renowned for its world-class golf courses and I am delighted to showcase them during the 2013 Australian PGA Championship,” said City of Gold Coast Mayor, Tom Tate.
“The Gold Coast has earned a reputation as Australia’s emerging sports capital and it’s fitting to have this much loved event back in the city after a decade long hiatus,” said Cr Tate.
The 2013 Australian PGA Championship presented by Coca-Cola will again be co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia and OneAsia.
During the announcement Thorburn also confirmed that Network Ten will continue to broadcast the Championship, with all four days to be showcased live across the country on free-to-air.
Additionally, the Gold Coast will be showcased internationally through OneAsia’s television platform that spans 400 million homes in more than 40 countries, with all four days broadcast via ESPN Star Sports, Jupiter Golf Network, SBS Golf Channel, Fox International and Sky Sports NZ among others.
The Australian PGA Championship was first played in 1905 with the Joe Kirkwood Cup boasting the names of past champions including Kel Nagle, Peter Thomson, Gary Player, Seve Ballesteros and Greg Norman.
More recent Champions include Geoff Ogilvy (2008,) Robert Allenby (2000, 2001, 2005 & 2009,) Peter Senior (2010), Greg Chalmers (2011) and last year’s Champion Daniel Popovic.