Date: June 23, 2015
Author: Golf Australia

PGA joins with Europe

The Australian PGA Championship has secured a co-sanctioning agreement with the European Tour from 2015.

The PGA of Australasia says that as a result of the arrangement, the tournament at Royal Pines in December will draw more than 500 million television viewers.

European co-sanctioning also suggests the depth of the field will be stronger in 2015, with the prize fund increasing to $1.75 million from $1 million last year, when Greg Chalmers won a playoff.

The PGA is scheduled to be played at the remodelled Royal Pines resort on the Gold Coast from 3-6 December, the week after the Emirates Australian Open at The Australian Golf Club in Sydney.

PGA of Australia Chief Executive Brian Thorburn said sanctioning with the European Tour would provide a greater reach with a new broadcast agreement through Europe, Asia and the US.

"This will be the highest purse in Australian PGA Championship history and will position the tournament more strongly on the international stage with exposure to a greater broadcast platform than any of our previous tournaments.

"This is a huge step forward for the tournament to rank alongside many of the great tournaments in Europe and Asia. The partnership will also provide the opportunity to improve the strength of the field through the greater depth of international players currently playing on the European Tour.’’

In addition to the first prize cheque of $315,000 the winner receives an exemption into the World Golf Championship-Bridgestone Invitational and the 2016 BMW PGA Championship at The Wentworth Club in England.

The Championship will also provide visitors the chance to view Graham Marsh's $10million completed upgrade to the RACV Royal Pines Resort layout, where the 16th and 18th holes have been redesigned since last year’s tournament.

The European Tour will receive 60 positions into the tournament. In an arrangement with (South African) Sunshine Tour, 30 of those positions will be granted to their membership.  The PGA Tour of Australasia will receive a minimum of 71 direct positions into the tournament. In addition, there will be eight tournament invitations, six qualifying positions and three positions for PGA Vocational Members. 

The tournament will be broadcast live on Channel Seven.