FORMER major winner Greg Norman will join Jason Day and American Bubba Watson at the Hyatt Regency Coolum when the PGA Championship tees off from November 24-27.
In what is shaping up as the biggest ever season for the PGA Tour of Australasia, the world-class trio are the first of many player announcements sure to ignite the interest of sports fans.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said having a Queensland sporting icon like Norman and rising star Day coming to play on home soil was fantastic news for local fans.
“The PGA Championship is a marquee event on Queensland’s dynamic and growing events calendar and this year is shaping up to be the most exciting yet with Norman returning to Coolum for the first time since 2004,” Ms Bligh said.
“Events like the PGA Championship are not only the chance for local fans to enjoy their talent first hand, they attract visitors from far and wide and deliver a real boost for the local tourism industry.
“That’s why the Queensland Government, through Events Queensland, is investing in the PGA Championship as part of our record investment in events over the next four years.”
Today’s announcement holds great significance for the PGA Championship of which Norman is a two-time champion.
“It’s been several years since I’ve been able to play up at Coolum, and this particular year, coincides with a very important milestone for the PGA in its Centenary.”
“It’s going to be a huge summer for Australian golf, including the PGA at Coolum. It will be great to get back up there and see how the course has changed since I last played.”
Norman has won the PGA Championship’s Joe Kirkwood Cup in 1984 and 1985 and will tee off in this year’s event two weeks after playing in the Australian Open at The Lakes Golf Club in Sydney.
At the other end of the spectrum, the new World No. 9 Day will play the PGA Championship for the very first time since he turned professional in 2006.
“I’m really excited about coming back to Queensland and playing the PGA Championship at Coolum,” said Day, who is Australia’s highest world ranked player.
“This year will be big. It’s going to be a great field and I’m looking forward to playing well in front of my friends and family and all the young golf fans.”
Also announced today, big-hitting Bubba Watson is the first international player to confirm he will play the PGA Championship in November.
Watson, who has become a regular fixture in the world’s top 15, will play Coolum for the first time since 2005.
“I’ve played up in Queensland once before and it was a great atmosphere. My game has come a long way since then so hopefully I can get back there and finish the year off well,” said Watson.
Brian Thorburn, Chief Executive Officer of the PGA of Australia, said he is extremely happy with how plans for this year’s PGA Championship, and indeed the entire PGA Tour of Australasia season, are progressing.
“The PGA is committed to ensuring we can deliver the world’s best golfers to Australian sports fans and this year offers considerable opportunity for us to do so,” said Thorburn.
“This year’s PGA Championship falls within our Centenary year and we are very excited about returning to Coolum to showcase what will definitely be a world-class field.”
The PGA Championship will again be co-sanctioned by OneAsia, with the tournament to be the second-to-last event for the 2011 season on the burgeoning Tour’s Order of Merit.
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