Troppo Tour kicks off for 2011

The 2011 Queensland PGA Sunshine Tour, regarded as one of the largest Pro Am tours around the world, kicks off tomorrow in Papua New Guinea offering a prizemoney pool in excess of $1.3 million.

Launched back in the early 70s and tagged the ‘Troppo Tour’, the string of 55 Pro Am tournaments will be played between May and November on courses stretching from Lae in PNG and Cairns in Far North Queensland, south to Yamba (NSW) and west to Dysart.

PGA Australia Troppo Tour kicks off for 2011

During the eight months of virtually continual tournaments – the majority of which are one-day events – up to 400 professional golfers will tee up for their slice of the prizemoney on offer on this year’s tour. Most of those pros will play in at least 80 per cent of the events.

And while many of the tournaments are one-day events, with morning and afternoon fields, more two-day fixtures have been played in the past two years and for the first time in 2011 six four-round tournaments are scheduled.

The two PNG tournaments, on May 5-8 (Lae) and May 12-15 (Port Moresby), are worth $80,000 and $120,000 respectively. More than 50 PGA members from Australia will play in the PNG tournaments.

Other big prizemoney events on the ‘Troppo Tour’ are:

  • Australian 4 Ball Pro Am Championship, Royal Pines ($120,000)
  • Capricorn Classic, Capricorn Resort ($100,000)
  • Mackay Pro Am ($70,000)
  • Hi Lite Pro Am, Royal Pines ($50,000)
  • Rockhampton Pro Am ($50,000)

Queensland PGA tournament co-ordinator, Justin Maker, said the Sunshine Tour had developed in to one of the largest Pro Am tours in the world from very humble beginnings back in the early 1970s.

“The likes of former Qld PGA president Peter McWhinney were responsible for its birth because he and other guys simply thought it would be great idea to get a Queensland tour up and running,” Maker said.

“In the 40 years since some outstanding players cut their teeth on this tour – guys like Peter Senior, Rod Pampling and John Senden, who have won on the US PGA tour. And in more recent years James Nitties, Michael Wright, Adam Crawford, Kim Felton and Matthew Millar and Andre Stolz have emerged have had success overseas.”

Veterans like Terry Price, Wade Brunjes, David Diaz, Richard Backwell, Anthony Gilligan, Ossie Moore and Jeff Woodland, are also expected to again ‘go Troppo’ in 2011, while some young guns likely to impress this year include Tasmanian Scott Priest, who recently finished tied for fifth at the Surfcoast Knockout In Victoria, as well as last year’s rookie of the year Taylor Cooper along with Damon Welsford and Kurt Carlson.

Despite the fact tht tens of millions of dollars damage was incurred to many golf courses throughout Queensland during floods and cyclones in January, most will still be able to host their scheduled events in 2011.

“Fortunately the floods and cyclones have been at the start of the year, and it looks as though the majority of the Pro Am clubs will be back to normal by the time their event comes around,” said Maker.

“However there was going to be half a dozen inaugural events in Far North Queensland, but because of the tropical cyclones and subsequent torrential rain, those events will now be delayed until 2012.”