Coolum could stay: O’Malley ( admin posted on July 16th, 2018 )

GOLF
Nanjing Night Net

WHILE Sunday’s round at Coolum could very well have been Peter O’Malley’s last at the venue as part of the Australian PGA Championships, the Bathurst professional believes the venue might still see battles for the Kirkwood Cup in the future.

Most involved with the sport believe the tournament will not played at Coolum next year following a number of clashes with the resort’s billionaire owner Clive Palmer.

The board of the Australian PGA will make a decision next Wednesday on whether the tournament remains on the Sunshine Coast or finds a new home, most likely on the Gold Coast.

O’Malley, who along with another tour veteran Craig Parry are the players’ representatives on the eight-member PGA board, said nothing had been decided about the tournament.

“This has been a fantastic venue and we haven’t decided whether we’re coming back here or not,” O’Malley said after closing his tournament with a three-under 69.

“It’s been a great time here and everyone enjoys it.

“We haven’t made any decisions and we haven’t signed any contracts.

“There’s a lot of great venues. This is a great venue and we might come back here, but there are other options available.”

Palmer has indicated he is supremely confident the 107-year-old tournament will remain at his Sunshine Coast resort which has hosted the event since 2002.

But PGA officials, clearly unimpressed with some stunts he pulled leading up to the tournament, have concerns about locking into a multi-year deal with the unpredictable entrepreneur who loves dinosaurs, vintage cars and the Titanic.

A number of courses have already emerged as alternative venues.

Brookwater, the highest ranked course in Queensland at number 24 in the country, Hope Island, Sanctuary Cove, The Glades, The Grand and Royal Queensland could be possible new venues.

“We just want to look at our options and make sure we get the best package,” O’Malley said.

“This is the Australian PGA Championship. I think most of the players will support the tournament no matter where we put it.”

Golf’s senior statesman Peter Senior says it’s sad the tournament could move.

“It’s really disappointing the way he [Palmer] has handled it up there,” Senior said.

“It’s a great tournament for Coolum, great for the area. A lot of players are going to be disappointed.”

There were reports that Palmer threatened to lock out the PGA and had even ordered a heavy digger to rip up the ninth green last Saturday over a dispute involving advertising signs painted on the fairways.

“It was very difficult,” Senior said.

MOVE? Geoff Ogilvy of Australia lines up a putt on the ninth hole during round two of the Australian PGA Championship at Palmer Coolum Resort. Jeff the T-Rex who can be seen in the background is one of the reasons the tournament may find a new home. Photo: GETTY IMAGES 121712coolum

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