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Volume 6 No. 212

Events and Attractions

The Australian PGA Championship "will have to find a new home next year after negotiations with billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer broke down this week," according to Wayne Heming of the AAP. PGA CEO Brian Thorburn confirmed on Tuesday that the tournament, which has been played at the Palmer Coolum Resort on the Sunshine Coast since '02, "would be moving." The Gold Coast has "emerged as an odds-on favourite to host the tournament next year, but Thorburn would not speculate on a likely new venue." The Pines Course at Sanctuary Cove and Royal Pines at the Gold Coast had also "both been mentioned." Thorburn, however, "debunked talk of the event being moved interstate." The resort was recently bought by Palmer, "who refused to sign a major sponsorship deal" with the PGA of Australia. There were reports on Tuesday that Palmer "locked the gates to the course in response to complaints over on-course signage, but he later said he knew nothing about it" (AAP, 12/12).

SOCIAL NETWORK TIPS: In Sydney, Brent Read noted the PGA Tour of Australia "has taken the extraordinary step of reminding players of their responsibilities on social media as tension surrounds the breakdown in talks." Officials reminded players of the Tour's social media policy and the need to be careful with their public comments, "another indicator of the residual fears that the event could be placed in jeopardy if the wrong thing was said this week." Despite, "the shenanigans," Thorburn suggested that the Tour had not "put a line through Palmer or any of his resorts." The tournament will be played elsewhere next year. However, Thorburn "reiterated recent comments" saying that it "would be a mistake for the Tour to become beholden to one man, even if that man was among Australia's richest" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 12/12).

PALMER'S TOUCH: In Sydney, Read wrote "you get the feeling," if the Australian PGA had its way, "the tournament would already be on the move." That would "at least spare them a nervous week as they wonder what move" Palmer will make next. His decision to paint the fairway of the Palmer Coolum Resort with its signage promoting his own companies -- and a political slogan "Freedom of Speech" -- "showed scant respect for the PGA Tour and the players it represents" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 12/11). The AP noted the new owner of the Palmer Coolum Resort "has erected a 26-foot mechanical T-Rex between the ninth green and 10th tee, which flips its tail and opens its mouth for a menacing roar when anyone approaches." Palmer, "has at least agreed to turn it off during the tournament." Australian golfer Robert Allenby said, "I've heard it sounds like we are going to Jurassic Park, so this will be interesting" (AP, 12/11). The AAP's Heming noted Australian PGA Tournament Dir Andrew Langford-Jones "has laughed it off," suggesting that "boxing gloves may be issued" to Allenby and fellow Australian golfer Geoff Ogilvy on the first tee at the Palmer Coolum Resort. Allenby and Ogilvy "almost came to blows" 12 months ago when a "simmering Presidents Cup feud turned nasty in front of stunned onlookers dining in the resort's Village Square." Langford-Jones "was confident the two players would conduct themselves professionally." He said: "Both of them were keen to play with each other. They're long time mates, they're Presidents Cup teammates. One night has made absolutely no difference to a lifelong friendship" (AAP, 12/11).

The Czech Republic "has rejected an offer from neighboring Slovakia to co-host the 2015 Int'l Ice Hockey Federation World Championships," according to SPOX. Czech's national hockey federation dismissed the Slovakian offer to co-host the World Championships. Czech Ice Hockey Association President Tomáš Král said that "the already advanced preparations in the host cities of Prague and Ostrau were the reasons against the proposal." The Czech Republic last hosted the IIHF World Championships in '04 and set a new attendance record with 550,000 visitors. Slovakia hosted the world championships in '11 (SPOX, 12/10).

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy gave a speech during the Doha GOALS Forum "highlighting the geopolitical role of sports in the 21st century," according to Cyrille Haddouche of SPORT 24. Sarkozy also "put in question" the int'l sports events calendar. Sarkozy applauded UEFA President Michel Platini's decision to have Euro 2020 played throughout Europe. Sarkozy said, "The principle of organizing joint events by a number of countries needs to be favored. In this sense I applaud the idea of UEFA to organize Euro 2020 in 12 European cities." Sarkozy also spoke about FIFA's decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. Sarkozy: "I supported the choice. We had to wait until the 21st century for a Muslim country to organize for the first time an event of this importance. It's a big decision" (SPORT 24, 12/11). In London, Owen Gibson noted Sarkozy "was seen as playing a key role in delivering the 2022 World Cup to Qatar," although Platini "has always denied that he influenced his vote." Sarkozy also spoke about the World Cup and the Olympics. Sarkozy said, "The World Cup can't be the prerogative of France, Italy or Britain only. Football is of such importance throughout the world it must be shared. It can't be the exclusive property of a few western nations. If you love football it must be shared." He added, "Is it essential that the Olympic Games be systematically held in the month of August? Where is it written that it must be in August? Would they be less interesting in June? As for the World Cup, which I have followed so passionately for so many years, must it absolutely be organised in July? Were the World Cup to take place in another time of the year, would it not be as enthralling?" (GUARDIAN, 12/11). 

The inaugural Chiangmai Golf Classic in Thailand will debut in March in a development that underscores the strength of the Asian Tour as it expands professional golf throughout the country and region. The event will be held at the Alpine Golf Resort-Chiangmai, which is located in northern Thailand from March 28-31 and will offer a total prize purse of $750,000. In conjunction with the event promoter, IMG, Asia's newest showpiece will be broadcast live over four days on the tour's global TV platform, which reaches more than 200 countries and 650 million homes. The launch of the tournament will raise the number of Asian Tour events in the country to four, which will boost Thai players' chances to qualify for the Olympic Games in '16 through the official world golf ranking. The Chiangmai Golf Classic will be a 72-hole strokeplay tournament showcasing 144 players, with the leading 94 Asian Tour players featuring in the elite field alongside 10 players from the top-200 of the official world golf ranking, 30 players from Thailand and 10 sponsor’s invitations (IMG).

The fourth edition of the Berenberg Bank Masters will be played at the Cologne Golf and Country Club located in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany from Aug. 2-4. The Cologne Golf and Country Club also hosted the event in '11. Germany's oldest private bank remains the title sponsor of the golf tournament for another year (Berenberg Bank Masters). ... V8 Supercars "have held talks with the owner of a circuit in southern China, with the intention of returning to the country." Consultant Graeme Staerk represented V8s during a recent Gold Coast City Council trade mission and met the owner of Zhuhai Int'l Circuit "to discuss the possibility of holding" a race at the track (AAP, 12/11). ... The Int'l Swimming Federation (FINA) Bureau awarded the organization of the 13th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in '16 to the city of Windsor, Canada. Bidding interest had also been received from Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi, UAE and Ashgabat, Turkmenistan (FINA).