Sport

Leading question: could the PGA stay after all?

WILL it go or will it stay?

That is the question Palmer Coolum Resort owner Clive Palmer is expected to answer this morning about the future of the Australian PGA tournament which may yet have its immediate future on the Sunshine Coast.

Daniel Popovic (pictured) seemed to be more focussed on the game at hand, though.

After holding the lead on the first day with a searing eight-under-par 64, the young Australian shot a two-under-par 70 yesterday, to hold top place on the leaderboard.

He is sharing it with Chinese golfer Zhang Xin-Jun.

Meanwhile, Mr Palmer has announced a press call for 6.45am for the launch of what is described as the John F. Kennedy PGA Memorial Hole.

But there is mounting speculation Mr Palmer and the PGA broke bread and closed a deal yesterday despite a week of bitterness that at one point saw the mining billionaire spend two hours pulling out tournament signs before he locked the gates on golf officials.

If correct this morning's press conference may offer the region more than a hole dedication to a long dead United States president.

What is certain is that any tension in the relationship has dissipated to the point Mr Palmer and wife Anna will be special guests tomorrow in the PGA marquee on the final day of the 2012 tournament.

The PGA is described by those who have had close dealings with it as an organisation focused completely on the money.

"Loyalty to this region doesn't exist and never has," a source close to the event said.

Other sources have reported a strong presence at the PGA tournament of officials from the Links Hope Island Championship Course which, at 6364m and par 72, is described as the Gold Coast's finest.

Speculation was rife at Coolum on Thursday that the Hope Island contingent planned a detailed presentation to the PGA this weekend in a bid to win the event.

If the tournament remains on the Sunshine Coast calls will be strong for the council to better exploit the benefits of its sponsorship which includes, to date unused, marketing access to every PGA golf shop in Australia.

- BILL HOFFMAN

Topics:  clive plamer, coolum resort, pga



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