Despite reports earlier this week that the Palmer Coolum Resort would no longer host the Australian PGA Championship moving forward, billionaire Clive Palmer remains hopeful that the event will return to his course – and its unique surroundings – for years to come.
'I'm very confident the PGA will be here for the next five years,' he told the Sydney Morning-Herald this week. 'I'm sure that will be the case.'
The course has come under fire this week largely for the 26-foot robotic dinosaur - named Jeff - perched between the ninth and 10th holes. Although the dinosaur's automated roars are silenced for the event this week, officials seemed less than pleased about its presence and placement, along with the placement of more than 60 signs painted into the grass promoting many of Palmer's own companies. He remained steadfast that his resort should remain host – dinosaur and all.
'We have Jeff the dinosaur. He's been all around the world,' he explained. 'And isn't that good for golf? Maybe golf has been a little bit mundane. By having a dinosaur here, we've created more interest in golf. That's not a bad thing.'
While the course has hosted the event for the past 11 years, Palmer did not follow the former owners, Hyatt, in doubling as both host venue and presenting sponsor. According to the report, that may be a stance he is willing to reconsider, as the mining magnate submitted a revised host offer yesterday.
'I've obviously heard Clive's comments,' said Brian Thorburn, the chief executive of the Australian PGA who earlier this week indicated the event would have a new venue in 2013. 'I can confirm that late Friday, Palmer Coolum Resort submitted a revised offer to continue hosting the tournament beyond this year.'
While Palmer hopes to keep the event at his resort, he indicated that hosting a rival event should the PGA find a new home was not out of the question, according to the report.
'I don't want to upset the PGA – they're all nice people,' he added. 'But we'd probably have to have some sort of a tournament here for the people of the Sunshine Coast.'