The Australian Open at Royal Sydney beginning on November 17th already had commitments from Jason Day and Jordan Spieth so did not lack star power in that regard, but Adam Scott playing the Australian PGA Championship, especially given his great record at Royal Pines in recent years, will add significantly to the depth and interest in the event.
Scott finished runner-up the last time the Australian Open was played at Royal Sydney in 2013 when he succumbed to a two shot swing on the 72nd hole and opened to door for Rory McIlroy.
Scott finished runner-up again last year when the Australian Open was played at the Australian Golf Club so those near misses in addition to his victory at the NSW Golf Club in 2009 make him one of the most successful of the Australians in the event in recent years.
That Adam Scott is returning to RACV Royal Pines on the Gold Coast however is a great boost for that particular tournament which has been rebuilding itself since a move from Coolum Resort in 2013.
That year Scott won over the old layout at RACV Royal Pines and in 2014, when half of the upgraded layout was used for the first time, Scott lost out to Greg Chalmers in a seven-hole playoff.
Scott did not play the Australian PGA Championship last year when, in its first year as a co-sanctioned event with the European Tour, Victorian Nathan Holman elevated his status in the game with a victory in a three-hole playoff against American Harold Varner 111 and South African Dylan Frittelli.
Whether Scott will also play the World Cup of Golf, where he and Jason Day are the defending champions in the team format, is unannounced at this stage as the eligibility for the event is not decided for a few weeks. Even if Scott does not make it to Kingston Heath for whatever reason his presence in Australian golf’s flagship events is great news.
That the Australian Open and the Australian PGA Championship are either side of the World Cup of Golf offers not only increased incentive for Jason Day to play the Australian Open but it also offers both events the chance to leverage off the involvement of a number of world class players expected to be in Melbourne for the World Cup.
With last year’s initial joint sanctioning with the European Tour, the PGA Championship struggled to attract a field of any real depth but that could be attributed to the isolated nature of the scheduling of the event and its relatively late co-sanctioning. This year offers far greater opportunity for a significantly stronger field.
“Today’s announcement of Adam Scott’s participation in both events underscores the world class standing of our events,” said PGA Tour of Australasia’s Commissioner Brian Thorburn at an announcement at RACV Royal Pines today.
“Adam is a great ambassador for Australian golf, has shown great loyalty to our tour and is always a crowd favourite and a strong contender in national championships.
“Since 2011 Adam has played in twelve tournaments on our tour and has finished inside the top five in eleven of those events which is a remarkable record. Having Adam play here was an important goal of ours given his connection to the Gold Coast and it cements our championship.”
“We have had a lot of interest from European Tour players or their representatives in playing the PGA," responded Thorburn when asked about that very question. "When we were at the Open Championship we handed out a glossy flyer to many of the managers of European Tour players but particularly focused on those players playing the World Cup of Golf the previous week.
"It is much easier to get players to come to the Gold Coast if they are already in the country. The deadline for eligibility and commitment for the World Cup is August 1st, commitment is August 12th and the naming of leading player’s partners is August 26th.
“August is therefore a key month for us and while we have secured a headline act we intend to grab a number of further players, especially those who are likely to be here for the World Cup of Golf."
Whatever the balance of the field, however, having the commitment of Adam Scott will provide the PGA of Australia the opportunity to leverage his involvement to promote their flagship event in a very positive manner and the field assembled on the Gold Coast in the first week of December is expected to be at a much higher level than has been the case in recent years.
The event will carry a $1 million bonus prize for a player holing in one at what could well become the party hole, the par three 16th.
Half will go to player recording the hole in one while each player will be aligned to a golf fan who would receive $500,00 in cash and prizes provided by Soniq.
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