Teed off - Coolum could lose multi-million dollar PGA event
THE Coast faces losing the Australian PGA Championship with the tournament's organiser looking to stage the event elsewhere.
PGA of Australian chief executive Brian Thorburn said lengthy contract negotiations with host venue Palmer Coolum Resort had so far been fruitless.
"We've no choice but to look at other alternatives within Queensland, both in and outside of the Sunshine Coast," Thorburn said.
"We're not taking this decision lightly.
"We are hopeful though to have the 2013 venue confirmed before the end of the year, if not early in the new year."
Thorburn was responding to Palmer Coolum Resort general manager Bill Schoch's revelation the resort was refusing to pay a "remarkable sum of cash" that the property's previous management had provided through sponsorship to the tournament.
The resort - formally known as the Hyatt Regency Coolum until new owner Clive Palmer terminated the management contract in February - is negotiating with the PGA of Australia to extend the host-venue agreement beyond this year.
But Schoch said the property would not continue the Hyatt Regency's practice of serving as both the host venue and a major sponsor of the event.
He said the Hyatt Regency sponsored the event because it wanted to promote its brand globally.
"So we believe we make a massive contribution to the event by hosting it here and we don't really need to be both the host venue and a major sponsor," he said.
"There's no sticking point. The PGA runs the event, so it's their call as to who the sponsors are.
"It's unusual for a venue to also be a major cash sponsor."
The existing contract began in 2002 and concludes following the December 13-16 staging of this year's tournament; a $1.5 million event that lures some of the sport's biggest names to the Coast.
Despite the sponsorship issue, Schoch is "very confident" the tournament will stay put.
He said Thorburn would be on the Coast this week to resume negotiations and he was hopeful a successful outcome would be announced before Christmas.
"We love the event, the Sunshine Coast loves the event, Queensland loves the event and Australia loves the event, as do the players," he said.
"So we're very happy for it to be here."
"It (the current discussions) is part of the process whenever a long-term contract comes up for renegotiation.
"The circumstances 10 years on are obviously different and everything is done in light of the circumstances here now."