The Australian PGA Championship has become the country’s richest golf tournament after a new co-sanctioning agreement with the European Tour.
The prizemoney for the tournament, which runs this year from December 3-6 at the RACV Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast, has increased to $1.75 million following the deal, which will provide a much stronger and deeper field of players.
In addition, the winner of this year’s PGA Championship will be granted exemption into next year’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the 2016 BMW PGA Championship at The Wentworth Club, near London.
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 expected to lead to a global viewership of more than 500 million.
“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,” Thorburn said.
“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.”
European Tour members will receive 60 spots in the tournament with 30 of those granted to members of South Africa’s Sunshine Tour.
The PGA Tour of Australasia will receive a minimum of 71 direct entries.
Royal Pines is currently undergoing a $10-million upgrade, which will be completed in time for the PGA titles.
“The newly designed 16th and 18th holes will provide fantastic viewing for fans attending the tournament while the 10th tee, which is now positioned near the tournament ‘village’, will enhance the fan engagement experience even further,” Thorburn said.