Australian PGA Tour Must Find New Home, Players Warned About Tweeting Rules
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).