Australian PGA Leaves Clive Palmer's Resort, Distances Event From 'Incendiary' Comments
The Australian PGA Championship "will not return to the Palmer Coolum Resort after a series of disputes with the complex's billionaire" Owner Clive Palmer, according to the AAP. PGA of Australia CEO Brian Thorburn said that the Palmer Coolum Resort would not be on the Tour calendar, "with the PGA Championship to move to another course after 11 years at the Sunshine Coast venue." Hope Island, a Gold Coast links course designed by five-time British Open winner Peter Thompson, "has emerged as a hot favourite" to be the '13 venue. Thorburn said that the tournament "would definitely remain in Queensland with an announcement on a new venue to be made in the coming weeks" (AAP, 2/11). In Brisbane, Jim Tucker wrote the decision to end the 11-year run of the Australian PGA at Coolum "is the fallout from the erratic working relationship with the owner of the Palmer Coolum Resort when he was host of the tournament for the first time" in December. It was not Palmer's decision "to station an eight-metre robotic dinosaur near the 10th tee that cost him the tournament because 'Jeff' won a devoted fan following, even amongst some top golfers." His "energy for the event was also admirable." What made PGA officials back off Palmer "was his wish to host but not sponsor the event, ambush signage, and the craziness of a backhoe being ready to rip up the ninth green when they were in dispute a week before the tournament" (COURIER-MAIL, 2/11).
MAKING NICE: In Sydney, Brent Read reported the PGA Tour of Australia has contacted Tiger Woods "in an attempt to distance itself from comments" made by Palmer in which he described Woods "as an emotional wreck and a poor example for children." It emerged that Thorburn had emailed Woods' management "to clarify the incendiary comments." Palmer made the assertions about Woods, "including the suggestion that he would rather have Peter Senior at his tournament, in an interview with The Australian" at the end of '12. The article "attracted international attention and Thorburn, wary of the potential for the comments to damage future attempts to attract Woods to the event, felt strong enough to extend an olive brand to the 14-time major winner" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 2/12).