COMPETITORS in the first event of the 2013 PGA Tour of Australasia, the Victorian PGA Championship, will get a reprieve from some expected heatwave conditions with a new rule allowing them to wear shorts.
The new rule was recently approved to give players the shorts option in non-televised state based championships and will be in force for the foreseeable future.
The change probably couldn’t have come at a better time for the 132 man field lining up at the Turner Plumbing Victorian PGA Championship at the Forest Resort Creswick, in regional Victoria.
The field boasts 27 former PGA Tour of Australasia winners and includes experienced campaigners Peter O’Malley, Terry Price, Paul Gow, Paul Sheehan, Scott Laycock, Andre Stolz, Michael Long and Terry Pilkadaris.
They’ll be joined by the likes of defending champion Gareth Paddison, Matt Griffin, Ashley Hall, Kim Felton and Aaron Townsend who are all likewise hoping to find early form in Australia, with five PGA Tour of Australasia tournaments scheduled over the next seven weeks.
It will be the first time since the one-off Surf Coast Knockout in 2011 that professionals can choose to wear shorts during competition rounds.
“A number of our state based tournaments are played in regional areas the likes of Kalgoorlie, Toowoomba, Creswick and even New Caledonia, where heat can become a real factor,” said Brian Thorburn CEO of the PGA of Australia.
“But this isn’t just about player comfort, it’s about ensuring our game evolves to suit modern day realities, and this is a small but positive step forward.”
Thorburn said the PGA Championship was the first of 14 tournaments currently scheduled for the 2013 PGA Tour of Australasia season, and its positioning has had a positive impact on the quality of the field.
“The feedback from the players after last year’s inaugural tournament at Creswick was extremely positive, and we’re hopeful the community will again come out and support the tournament and the players. There is great potential for this tournament in this region,” he said.
With pro-am and sponsor events on Tuesday and Wednesday, the tournament proper begins with the first of four rounds on Thursday, with free entry for all spectators.
The tournament boasts a prize purse of $130,000 with Official World Golf Ranking points also on offer.
The Pros aren’t the only ones with a chance to take home the spoils, with a new car also up for grabs in a daily hole-in-one competition. The Carworks hole-in-one challenge will be staged on the 18th hole following the conclusion of play on each tournament day, with a $34,000 Ssangyong Actyon ute up for grabs.