THE 2012 schedule for Australia’s three big golf tournaments was announced today with the Australian Masters again segregated from the other events.
The Australian Masters will return to the Kingston Heath Golf Club from November 15 to 18 with a two week break before the Australian Open in Sydney from December 6 to 9 and the Australian PGA Championship the week after.
Last year the Presidents Cup was sandwiched between the Open and the PGA Championship in November giving them a massive advantage in attracting international and Australian talent while the Masters eventually found a spot the week before Christmas.
The Masters in 2011 still managed to attract Luke Donald, eventual winner Ian Poulter and some other notables but it remains to be seen how the new scheduling will affect that aspect for the Aussie events, particularly looking at what other international events are likely to be in competition.
The Masters returns to the scene of Tiger Woods 2009 victory and will have a prize pool of AUD$1 million.
From the Melbourne sand belt the PGA Tour of Australasia will head across the Tasman for the 2012 BMW New Zealand Open from November 22 to 25. The Kiwi Open will be played at the Clearwater Resort in Christchurch for a prize pool of AUD$400,000.
There will then be a week’s break (with possibly a NSW state event thrown in) before the 2012 Emirates Australian Open, again at The Lakes Golf Club, with AUD$1.5 million on offer.
The Australian PGA Championship will return to Coolum the following week (December 13 to 16) with another prize pool of AUD$1.5 million up for grabs.
The PGA will be the final event of the PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit season and both it and the Open will again be co-sanctioned by OneAsia for the fourth consecutive year.
Today’s confirmed dates complement the previously announced Perth International, co-sanctioned by the European Tour for the first time since 2009, which will be contested at Lake Karrinyup Country Club from October 18 to 21. The Perth International will have a USD$2 million prize pool.
“Last year’s PGA Tour of Australasia season set a new benchmark for tournament golf in Australia and we are working towards again delivering a sensational season for golf fans all across the country,” said Brian Thorburn, CEO of the PGA of Australia.
“It is expected that the full 2012 PGA Tour of Australasia schedule will comprise of 14 events in total, with an increase in prizemoney of over 35% compared to 2011.”
With the major tournaments now confirmed, focus will move to finalising the scheduling of the state based championships, which are garnering increased importance.
“For the first time in 2012 all PGA Tour of Australasia tournaments including our state based championships are carrying Official World Golf Ranking points which is great news for our Tournament Professionals,” Thorburn said.
“Already this year we have seen a number of players ascend up the World Golf Rankings due to successful performances at the recent Victorian and Queensland Championships as I’m sure we will again throughout the remainder of the season.”
Thorburn said the PGA plans to release the full schedule including the remaining state championship dates in the coming weeks.