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Australia PGA Championship to Find New 'Non-Jurassic Park' Site
It's official: the PGA of Australia will follow through on its promise to move the Australia PGA Championship from Coolum Resort to a new, as-yet-undermined site. The tournament has been held at the Sunshine Coast facility since 2002.
The PGA of Australia and the new owner of Coolum Resort, Australian billionaire Clive Palmer, had issues at the tournament in December after Palmer had installed a 26-foot-high robotic replica of a tyrannosaurus rex between the ninth green and 10th tee.
The dinosaur is programmed to move whenever anyone gets near it. Nicknamed "Jeff," the mechanical beast flips its tail up in the air and opens its mouth wide open and roars when someone approaches. Resort golfers take "dinosaur mulligans" when the roar occurs during their backswings on the 10th tee. The robotic portion of the T-Rex was turned off during the tournament.
"I'm glad it's not roaring, that's a good start," said 2011 champion Greg Chalmers in December. "It is just a little strange. It is not what I expected to see."
Palmer, who has renamed the destination Palmer Coolum Resort, plans to add more dinosaurs and convert the property into a theme park or casino, though he intends to keep the golf course.
Among other installations, he will build a replica of the Titanic. To help promote the resort's new focus during the 2012 tournament, Palmer installed over 60 signs around the course, including in fairway landing areas.
Palmer refused to move the signs for the latest Australia PGA Championship - won by Aussie Daniel Popovic, and Australasian Tour officials were forced to designate some of the landing areas "ground under repair," whereby golfers were able to move the ball if it landed too close to - or if their stance was interfered by - the signs.
In announcing the change of venue on Monday, PGA of Australia chief executive Brian Thorburn said that the move was due to a "lack of flexibility of dates . . . and signage matters."