PGA announce key Australian Tour dates

The very best of Australian golf will be showcased across two countries and four states with the PGA Tour of Australasia today announcing key dates for their biggest tournaments to end their 2012 schedule.

Following on from one of the most successful seasons in recent history, details for the Australian Masters, BMW New Zealand Open, Emirates Australian Open and Australian PGA Championship presented by Coca-Cola were today confirmed, joining the previously announced Perth International in an action packed PGA Tour of Australasia schedule.

Greg Chalmers Greg Chalmers kisses the 2011 Australian PGA trophy (Credit: Anthony Powter)

The Australian Masters will remain on the Melbourne sandbelt this year and return to Kingston Heath Golf Club where Tiger Woods claimed the gold jacket in 2009.

The Australian Masters will be contested from November 15 to 18 with a minimum prizepool of AUD$1 million.

From Melbourne the PGA Tour of Australasia will head over the Tasman for the staging of the BMW New Zealand Open from November 22 to 25.

The second Tour event to be contested in New Zealand in 2012 (following NZ PGA Pro-Am Championship played two weeks ago,) the Open will be played at Clearwater Resort in Christchurch for a prize pool of AUD$400,000.

The action will then head to Sydney and The Lakes Golf Club for the Emirates Australian Open where the coveted Stonehaven Cup and AUD$1.5 million prize pool will be on offer.

This year’s Open will be played from December 6 to 9 where tournament organisers are hoping to capitalise on an outstanding year in 2011 in which all prior television and crowd numbers were eclipsed.

The Australian PGA Championship presented by Coca-Cola will stand as a fitting finale to the PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit season from December 13 to 16 also with a prize pool of AUD$1.5 million up for grabs.

Another top field is expected to head to the Sunshine Coast to compete in the Championship which will be played at Coolum Golf and Spa.

Both the Emirates Australian Open and the Australian PGA Championship presented by Coca-Cola will again be co-sanctioned by OneAsia for the fourth consecutive year.

Today’s confirmed dates complement the previously announced Perth International set to hit Australian shores from October 18 to 21.

To be contested at Lake Karrinyup Country Club for USD$2 million the co-sanctioned Perth International will herald the return of the European Tour to Australia for the first time since 2009.

“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 pinnacle tournaments confirmed Thorburn said the focus now moves to finalising the scheduling of the state based championships which are equally important components of the PGA Tour of Australasia.

“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,” added Thorburn.

“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.