Date: April 23, 2013

Grant Report – Local Tour chases Scott

The scramble is on to secure new US Masters champion Adam Scott for Australia’s key events this summer.

And Masters top five finishers Marc Leishman and Jason Day are also high on the shopping list of tournament directors.

PGA boss Brian Thorburn has called on organisers to move quickly to capitalise on the breakthrough victory which he said could be the catalyst needed to lift the game in Australia.

"This is one of Australian sport’s most glorious moments, it’s up there with the America’s Cup and the Tour de France, it was history in the making," Thorburn told News Ltd. "Adam is on the cusp of further wins as well. He’s number three in the world and who’s to say he can’t be Australia’s first number one since Greg Norman."

Thorburn urged tournaments here to "seize the moment" and also chase Argentinian Angel Cabrera in the hope of producing a re-run of the Augusta play-off which saw Scott become the first Australian to win the Masters.

IMG’s director of golf David Rollo says he will examine the possibility of getting both defending champion Scott and Cabrera to the Australian Masters this year.

"We have the job now of capitalising on the groundswell of interest this has created," Rollo said. "(The playoff) was played in the greatest spirit under the greatest pressure, and all the values of golf were evident."

Thorburn wants Scott, Day and Leishman to commit to at least one of the three local tournaments — the PGA Championship, the Australian Masters and the Australian Open, all in November.

"We will do our darndest to get those guys back," he said. "When you have Australians performing on the world stage it inspires people. It will give confidence to broadcasters and sponsors that people want to see them.

"We are in the market for a naming-rights sponsor for the PGA championship at Royal Pines and we hope this victory will stimulate more corporate interest, both for the naming rights and for corporate hospitality," he said.

"Our broadcast rights are up for renewal at the end of the year and we expect this will generate more interest. If we can elevate attendances and revenues, we can also invest in attracting more international players."

The Australian PGA’s commercial sponsorship agent James Erskine says Scott’s win will lead to an upturn in the numbers of young people inspired to take up golf.

"Adam is charismatic, he’s a really nice guy, and he has impeccable manners," Erskine said. "You couldn’t ask for a better ambassador for the sport and he’s now taking on the mantle from Greg Norman.

"In the middle of battle he and Angel Cabrera showed great respect and sportsmanship for each other which was refreshing. It’s a great advertisement for the game of golf and it’s a huge boost for Australian golf."

"Greg Norman changed the face of golf in Australia for 20 years and I think the same thing can happen again."
The Australian PGA Championships at Royal Pines from November 7-13 is being staged at the Gold Coast – Scott’s home town – after being moved from Coolum.

”It’s certainly high on our priority to see if Adam is able to play at the Australian PGA Championship. It’s his home town, we’d love to have the opportunity for Adam to be there,” said Nick Thornton, the PGA’s general manager of commercial and marketing.

Scott is the defending champion at the Australian Masters, to be played at Royal Melbourne (November 14-17), with the Australian Open at Royal Sydney starting on November 28.

Brian Thorburn says he is hopeful Scott will be back in Melbourne at least for the Masters.

”I’m not sure what the thoughts are with the Australian Masters – he’s obviously the defending champion – it’s going to come down to what Adam’s schedule is,” Thornton said.

By: Robert Grant