Date: July 20, 2011

Links Legends tee off PGA’s centenary celebrations

By Peter Stone – Sydney Morning Herald, July 20, 2011 THOSE two grand old gentlemen of Australian professional golf – 90-year-old Kel Nagle and Peter Thomson, who is nine years his junior – took centre stage at The Mint in Macquarie Street for the launch of the PGA of Australia centenary celebrations, which begin on September 19. Thomson and Nagle are among 10 centenary ambassadors named by the PGA, while the centenary patron will be Greg Norman, who, back in 1999, was voted Australian golfer of the 20th century somewhat controversially by PGA members as compelling evidence could be introduced that it was Thomson who deserved the honour. Norman yesterday sent his apologies from some faraway place: &apos&aposIt is with great honour that I take on the role of the patron for the PGA of Australia&aposs Centenary Year. I look forward to sharing such an historic occasion with you all that will not only celebrate the last 100 years, but also launch our great game into the future,&apos&apos he wrote. But, hang on, didn&apost we have a Centenary PGA championship back in 2005, won by Robert Allenby? A book titled The PGA in Australia: The First 100 Years was published. Have we uncovered a case of double dipping? No, the PGA assures us. The first PGA championship played at Royal Melbourne in 1905, and won by Dan Soutar, was contested by a handful of club professionals, but the actual PGA of Australia was formed in 1911 by a group of 15 professionals outraged by their treatment at the hands of Royal Sydney during the Open championship. Thomson yesterday couldn&apost help but take a swipe at organisers of the centenary launch. Above centre stage was a screen showing images of past PGA Championship winners. &apos&aposThe pictures should be those of people at their work benches and in the [pro] shop because that, to me, is what the PGA of Australia is all about,&apos&apos said the man who was, for 30 years, its president. This centenary celebration is about how the association has grown from 15 members to more than 2500, the growth of golf in this country and the champions it has produced. It&aposs slogan: One history to the next. A gala dinner will be held in Sydney on November 11, the day of the second round of the Australian Open at The Lakes, and club member golf days will be held at the &apos&aposRoyal&apos&apos golf clubs in every state and the ACT, save for Royal Fremantle with Royal Perth hosting the event in Western Australia. But, there was no word yesterday on any new international players signed for the PGA Championship at Coolum, from November 24 to 27. American Bubba Watson and Norman are confirmed. PGA chief executive Brian Thorburn said he had handshakes with several player managers, but nothing on paper yet. Just another thought, though, on this progression of centenary celebrations – on our calculations, given the years the PGA title has not been played because of the two wars and a lack of sponsorship in 1995, in six years time we will have the 100th PGA Championship. Break out the champagne again. Read more:–again-20110719-1hnbq.html#ixzz1Sb8GyAlB