United States’ PGA Tour proposing second tier event in Australia as Greg Norman’s Saudi-backed LIV Golf poised to announce Adelaide as host of first Down Under tournament in 2023
“We just want to make sure we stay within the global golf ecosystem and that we do what we’ve been doing for a long time,” Kirkman said. “But we also want to be recognised for building champions to play on the big stage and work from there.
“While we’re building champions, our hand is up to stage some of these major tour events down in Australia. If there’s a south-east Asia swing [on the PGA Tour] with Japan or China, I’m at the table putting my hand up really high to say, ‘we want to be part of that swing’. We want events of that level to attract the top 50 and top 100 players in the world.
“We’ll manage what happens and what gets announced [with LIV], but our focus will stay on our tour, our players and our partners to stay within the global golf ecosystem. We’ve got 220 members and four of the best are playing LIV Golf, but there’s another 216 I’ve got a responsibility to provide playing opportunities and pathways for. LIV is not going to change what we do.”
Homegrown stars Smith, Adam Scott and Cameron Davis will return for Australia’s most significant summer of golf in years, starting with the Australian PGA in Brisbane later this month.
The event is co-sanctioned with the DP World Tour and LIV defectors are allowed to play given pending court action against their banning from golf’s two biggest tours.
Smith will bring home the claret jug in his first visit to Australia in almost three years, while in Brisbane he’ll also be presented the keys to the city and try to break a Guinness world record for the largest golf coaching clinic next weekend.
“We’ve probably got the strongest Australian men’s field we’ve had in terms of local players coming home,” Kirkman said. “Just for them to return to their home country is going to be good and the future of our game is going to be showcased well over the summer.”
Christian Hardy, the PGA Tour’s senior vice president international, said the PGA of Australia had been a “wonderful partner” and its alliance with the DP World Tour would strengthen the pathways for Australian golfers.
“We look forward to strengthening our long-standing association,” he said. “Australia remains a priority and we will continue to support the growth of golf in the region.”
Said DP World Tour’s chief tournament business officer Ben Cowen: “We are excited to begin our 2023 DP World Tour season in Brisbane at the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship, reaffirming Australasia as a key part of golf’s global ecosystem, and it is encouraging to see eight Australian golfers competing at the final stage of qualifying school in Spain this week with an opportunity to secure further playing privileges.
“We look forward to working closely with the PGA of Australia’s chief executive officer, Gavin Kirkman, to identify further areas the DP World Tour and PGA Tour can continue to support and build on the work we have done to help grow the game in this region.”
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