Luke Donald will compete at the Australian Masters (Photo: USGA/Steve Gibbons)

Event owner and promoter, IMG, today announced that the 2011 JBWere Masters would return to The Victoria Golf Club from 15-18 December.

The Hon Louise Asher, Minister for Tourism and Major events commented:  “The JBWere Masters is an important event on Melbourne’s sporting calendar and it presents the ideal vehicle to showcase our world class Sandbelt golf courses to Australia and the rest of the world.

“Victoria is proud to deliver great sporting events and our award-winning major events calendar offers all Australians the chance to experience the world’s best in sport, culture and entertainment.

“We are pleased to announce an extension of the government’s agreement with the Masters for a further three years.”

The tournament also confirmed the participation of world #1, Luke Donald, fellow countryman, world #14, Ian Poulter and defending champion Stuart Appleby.  Appleby secured his first gold jacket last year with a brilliant closing round of 65 to add his name to the Masters’ rich history of great champions.

The Hon Minister for Sport and Recreation Hugh Delahunty welcomed the news that the world number 1 Luke Donald, Ian Poulter and defending champion Stuart Appleby would play this year.

33 year old Luke Donald is enjoying a phenomenal year winning the World Golf Championships – Accenture Match Play Championship in February and the prestigious PGA Championship at Wentworth in May which saw him climb to the top of the Official World Golf Rankings for the first time in his career.  Currently he also leads the standings on both the European Tour and PGA TOUR.

“I have never played in Australia but I have heard so many great things about the sandbelt courses, the people there, and the country’s culture. I am really looking forward to the trip and the experience,” commented Luke.

Stuart Appleby has fond memories of The Victoria Golf Club from 2011 and is excited to have the opportunity to defend his Masters title.  “Victoria was a terrific host last year and I have great memories of the final round. It will make for an exciting time for golf in Victoria on the back of The Presidents Cup,’’ said Appleby.

The Stuart Appleby Foundation supporting junior golf will again have a presence through the week of the JBWere Masters.

The fashionable and charismatic Ian Poulter is no stranger to Australian shores but this will mark his first appearance at the JBWere Masters.  Ian is enjoying another great year winning the World Match Play Championship in May to add to his win in the World Golf Championships – Accenture Match Play in 2010.  “I am huge fan of the sandbelt courses and really look forward to getting back to Melbourne and playing Victoria for the first time.  Hopefully I can replicate England’s win in The Ashes last summer!” joked Ian.

Paul Heath, Managing Director and CEO of JBWere said:-

“I am delighted to endorse JBWere’s continued partnership with the JBWere Masters. Our organisation has valued our association with the Masters over the last several years, having provided us with a powerful opportunity to engage with our clients and highlight our brand and services to significant audiences.

“We see a natural synergy between the Masters and JBWere – we both share long standing traditions, strong reputations, are considered world class in our respective fields, attract the best talent and maintain a commitment to excellence.

“JBWere is enormously proud to be partnering with such a prestigious sporting event, and we look forward to welcoming some of the world’s best golfers to Victoria Golf Club this December.”

Commenting on the announcements, David Rollo, Vice President-Director of Golf, IMG Australia said:-

“The valued support of JBWere, the Victorian Government and our broadcast partners Channel Nine and FOX SPORTS has been fundamental to delivering the world’s best players to Melbourne over the past few years.  We would like to record our sincere thanks for their invaluable support and also to the Board and Members of The Victoria Golf Club for allowing us the opportunity to return to their outstanding facility again this year.

“We are delighted to welcome Stuart Appleby back to defend and also thrilled that Luke Donald and Ian Poulter have chosen to include the JBWere Masters in their 2011 schedules.  It provides another opportunity for our fans to see the world’s best players and hopefully we can capitalise on the undoubted excitement that The Presidents Cup will generate for golf in Victoria and Australia.”

On the event announcements CEO, PGA of Australia, Brian Thorburn commented: “2011 is an important year for PGA of Australia in marking our centenary.  We are delighted to see the on-going success of the JBWere Masters and on behalf of our members we extend our thanks to JBWere, the Victorian Government and IMG for their continued commitment to Australian golf.  We look forward to crowning our 2011 Order of Merit champion at the 2011 JBWere Masters.”

The JBWere Masters has again attracted a strong commercial programme with official automotive partner, Hyundai sitting alongside News Limited as an associate sponsor.

Additional members of the JBWere Masters sponsor family include Cussons Imperial Leather, Crown Ltd, Nikon, Tag Heuer, Spotless Group, The Langham Melbourne, Coopers 62, Amadio Wines and Schweppes.

The Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation will continue as the official charity partner for a second year.

The 2011 JBWere Masters will again be broadcast on Channel Nine and FOX SPORTS and will be played at The Victoria Golf Club from 15 – 18 December.

Tickets to the JBWere Masters will be on sale from August at Ticketek.

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