VICTORIOUS European Ryder Cup team vice-captain Darren Clarke will likely be nursing a giant hangover today but he’ll (most probably) eventually recover and hop on a plane to join the line-up at 2012 Australian PGA Championship.
The 2011 British Open winner is the first international golfer confirmed for the Coolum event, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast from December 1 to 16.
Also announced today were four-time Australian PGA Champion Robert Allenby and Queenslander John Senden, one of Australia’s
most consistent performers on the US PGA TOUR this year.
The trio join previously confirmed starters Greg Norman, Geoff Ogilvy and defending champion Greg Chalmers.
Clarke first visited the Coolum Resort last year – with his then newly acquired Claret Jug in tow – and made no secret he enjoyed the tournament immensely.
Following a week of enthusiastic wining and dining at the resort he tweeted:
‘Had a great week here in Aus! Thanks to the Aus PGA for having me!! Fantastic tournament and brilliant hospitality!’
He later added:
‘Different professional golf tours around the world cud learn from the Aus PGA…they know how to run tournaments! #thankyou’
“Last year’s Australian PGA was a lot of fun,” Clarke said this week.
“The people and crowds were great last year and it was a really enjoyable week. Australia has always hosted great tournaments and I’m looking forward to coming down again.”
Brian Thorburn, CEO of the PGA of Australia said he was looking forward to welcoming Darren back to Coolum.
“Darren was the ultimate professional and really embraced all that the Australian PGA Championship has to offer. He was a hit with the fans and sponsors alike, and I’m sure he will again be overwhelmed by the support he receives whilst in Australia.”
Aside from the former Open Champion, the field is set to boast a strong Australian contingent.
Allenby, who finished last year’s Championship in a tie for second following a playoff with Chalmers and Marcus Fraser, said he was looking forward to returning at the end of the year.
“It’s always a good place to come at the end of the year,” Allenby said. “It hasn’t been my best year on course so to finish the season somewhere where I’ve had a lot of success will be good.”
Senden also enjoys the opportunity to play in front of his family and friends, many of whom travel each year to catch up with him on the Sunshine Coast.
“Coolum is one of my favourite places to play golf,” said Senden, who will be hunting his first Australian title since the 2006 Australian Open.
“I’ve had some pretty good performances at Coolum, and my form this year has been solid. So hopefully I can come home and keep it going.”
The Australian PGA Championship presented by Coca-Cola is again co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia and OneAsia, and will be the final tournament of the year for both circuits.
Australia’s big tournaments kick off this year with the Australian Masters at Kingston Heath from November 15 to 18 (with the New Zealand Open the following week), the Australian Open at The Lakes from December 6 to 9 and the Australian PGA the following week.
Tickets are available from Ticketek