THE PGA OF AUSTRALIA has released its 2008 end of year Australasian Tour Tournament Schedule.
The schedule features eight events in eight weeks from October to December culminating in the ‘Big Three’ – the Australian Masters, Cadbury Schweppes Australian PGA Championship and Australian Open closing out the year in style.
The Von Nida Tour (VNT) ‘End of Year Swing’ commences in October at the WA Open and kick starts a month of golf crossing three states and finishing with The Vintage NSW Open, where Victorian Andrew Bonhomme last year clinched the VNT Money List Title by a mere $158 from Jason Norris.
The PGA will introduce televised highlights packages for the Von Nida Tour for the first time this year which will be broadcast on Fox Sports, home of the PGA Golf Show and selected regional television networks.
The WA Open returns to the Order of Merit schedule for the first time since 1988, and the Vintage NSW Open will offer record prize money of $125,000.
The PGA Tour’s National Order of Merit recommences in Shanghai with the prestigious HSBC Champions Tournament from 6 to 9 November. The HSBC Champions was last year won by Phil Mickelson and boasts an array of winners from around the globe competing for a US$5 million prize fund – making it the richest event in Asia-Pacific. The HSBC Champions field will include winners from Australia and abroad in addition to our leading players from the Order of Merit and Von Nida Tour.
The Tour then returns to Huntingdale Golf Club for the Australian Masters from 27 to 30 November. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, the Australian Masters is a highlight on the Australian sporting calendar and boasts past champions like Greg Norman, Peter Senior, Michael Campbell, Robert Allenby, Peter Lonard, and, following a dramatic play-off last year, Aaron Baddeley. Baddeley’s heart stopping win on the fourth play-off hole against Daniel Chopra last year heralded his return to the winners circle at home for the first time since he claimed his second successive Australian Open title in 2000.
The Tour next heads to the Sunshine Coast for Australia’s oldest professional tournament and the PGA Professional’s own event – the Cadbury Schweppes Australian PGA Championship to be held at the Hyatt Regency Coolum from 4 to 7 December. Last year perennial crowd favourite Peter Lonard held off a classy field of world ranked players to capture the Kirkwood Cup for a third time in front of a record final day crowd of 15,850.
Eager for a glimpse of the year’s strongest field, the four-day crowds at Coolum broke all tournament records for the second successive year and this year promises to again generate a field dripping with local and international talent.
The 2008 season will culminate with the 93rd Australian Open at Royal Sydney Golf Club from 11 to 14 December. The Australian Open will be headlined by Adam Scott (OWGR 3) and Geoff Ogilvy (OWGR 4) with defending champion Craig Parry expected to provide a spirited defence of the Stonehaven Cup. In 2007, Parry held off US star Brandt Snedeker and Aussies Nick O’Hern and Won Joon Lee to claim his first Open title and his third PGA Tour Order of Merit title.
This will bring down the curtain on a year in which the PGA has presented 13 events across Australia on its National Order of Merit and Von Nida Tour with prize money in excess of $14 million.
Releasing the schedule on Thursday, Max Garske, Chief Executive, PGA of Australia said:
“The PGA’s 2008 Summer Schedule will provide an opportunity for golf fans across the country to experience professional golf first hand in a variety of locations. Our flagship events will showcase our world beating home grown talent and determine who will win our Order of Merit 2008. We welcome our members home for summer and thank them for their loyalty and commitment to Australian golf.”
“Last year we experienced record crowds and increased television ratings across the board along with some of the strongest tournament fields in Australia for some time. The upcoming summer promises to again deliver world class golf for the sporting public and I commend Ben Sellenger and our Tour Division team for their work with the event owners and promoters to finalise this strong schedule.”
2008 PGA TOUR TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
Oct 23-26, WA Open, Cottlesloe GC, WA, $110,000, Fox Sports (delayed highlights)
Oct 30-Nov 2, WA PGA, The Cut GC, WA, $110,000, Fox Sports (delayed highlights)
Nov 6-9, NSW PGA, Riverside Oaks, NSW, $100,000, Fox Sports (delayed highlights)
Nov 6-9, HSBC Champions, Sheshan Int’l GC, Shanghai, $US5,000,000, Fox Sports
Nov 13-16, The Vintage NSW Open, The Vintage GC, Hunter Valley, $125,000, Fox Sports (delayed highlights)
Nov 27-30, Australian Masters, Huntingdale GC, VIC, $1,500,000, Seven Network
Dec 4-7, Cadbury Schweppes Australian PGA Championship, Hyatt Regency Coolum, QLD, $1,400,000, Network TEN
Dec 11-14, Australian Open, The Royal Sydney GC, $1,650,000 (min) , Seven Network