PGA vows to chase the best

AUSTRALIAN PGA Championship organisers admit to being "spoilt" by the quality field at last year's event, but have promised to do everything they can to deliver another star-studded tournament in 2012.

The pledge was made yesterday when the tournament's new date was announced.

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It will be held from December 13-16 at Coolum Golf and Spa (formally the Hyatt Regency Coolum), after being staged in late October last year.

The PGA Championship benefited greatly in 2011 by being positioned immediately after the Presidents Cup in Melbourne, as some of the participants in that event - including new US Masters champion Bubba Watson, pictured - travelled up to the Coast.

While the PGA of Australia concedes it will be tough to duplicate last year's field, it is confident of delivering a strong line-up.

A potential major plus in the bid to lure some of the world's best players to Coolum is the timing of the US PGA Tour's conclusion this year.

It finishes before the start of the PGA Championship.

Simon Butterly, PGA of Australia tournament division general manager, said the PGA Championship had previously been held just before Christmas and it was a success.

Butterly predicted many of the leading Australian players would bring their families to Coolum as the tournament doubled as a Christmas holiday.

"I think we may find it a touch difficult to get the same amount of international players (as last year)," he said.

"But I can assure you that we will be doing all we can to attract some of the world's best international players from the top of the golf world rankings to come and compete in the event."

With the tournament's date locked in, Butterly said the marquee players would be contacted to determine their end-of-year schedules.

This year's summer of golf starts with the Australia Masters at Kingston Heath, Melbourne, from November 15-18, and concludes with the PGA Championship.

The PGA, which is co-sanctioned by the OneAsia tour and will carry prizemoney of $1.5 million, is to be preceded by the Australian Open at The Lakes in Sydney from December 6-9.

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