2011 Open Champion Darren Clarke will return to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast in December to contest the Australian PGA Championship presented by Coca-Cola.
The first International confirmation for 2012, the affable Northern Irishman - fresh from vice-captain duties after Europe's memorable Ryder Cup victory at the weekend - will join four-time Australian PGA Champion Robert Allenby, and one of Australia’s most consistent performers on the PGA TOUR this year, John Senden.
The trio will complement the previously confirmed former tournament Champions Greg Chalmers, Greg Norman and Geoff Ogilvy, for what is again shaping up to be an impressive field.
Clarke, who visited Coolum for the very first time in 2011 with his Claret Jug in tow, was always a possibility to return in 2012.
Following a week of wining and dining at the now Palmer Coolum Resort, the prolific social media user tweeted at the end of last year’s tournament:
‘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 with confirmation that both Allenby and Senden will also contest the country’s oldest Professional title.
Allenby, who has won two of his four PGA titles at Coolum, 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,” said Allenby who finished last year’s Championship in a tie for second following a playoff with Chalmers and Marcus Fraser.
“It’s 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.”
Likewise, 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 the Queenslander 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.
To be played at Palmer Coolum Resort from 13 – 16 December, tickets are now on sale at www.ticketek.com.au
Can’t be there in person? The Australian PGA Championship presented by Coca-Cola will be showcased on OneAsia's television platform across all four tournament days, broadcast to over 400 million homes in more than 40 countries.
Full coverage of the event will be broadcast domestically on Network Ten, as well as internationally on ESPN Star Sports, Jupiter Golf Network, SBS Golf Channel, Fox International and Sky Sports NZ among others.
The Australian PGA Championship is supported by Events Queensland as part of a growing calendar of sporting, cultural, regional and business events across the state.
For more information visit the tournament website at http://championship.pga.org.au.