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Golf: Royal Pines to host Australian PGA Championship

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Australia's PGA Championship has found a new home at Queensland's Royal Pines on the Gold Coast, officials said Wednesday.

The event was forced to relocate after negotiations broke down last year with colourful mining billionaire Clive Palmer, owner of the Coolum resort on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland that had hosted the event since 2002.

"The Australian PGA Championship has a reputation for being a fun, relaxed tournament and we think we have the opportunity to not only recreate, but enhance that at RACV Royal Pines," said PGA of Australia chief Brian Thorburn.

Thorburn said he hoped that bringing the tournament to a larger population area would bring in more sponsors.

"So we've now put the event in the best possible position to reach new heights in terms of entertainment value, prize money and commercial opportunities," he said.

The Australian PGA Championship spent 11 years at Coolum but problems arose when Palmer, who took over the resort in 2011, painted the fairways with signage promoting his own companies, as well as a slogan "Freedom of Speech".

Palmer, who is best known for his project to build a modern-day version of the Titanic, also erected an enormous dinosaur replica, that moves and makes noises between the ninth and 10th holes.

While the grass signs did not breach any rules, PGA Tour officials were reportedly furious about their impact on other sponsors and the players.

The 2013 Australian PGA Championship will be co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia and OneAsia.

Royal Pines has been the home of the Ladies Masters since 1992.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130227/golf-royal-pines-host-australian-pga-championship