View Comments
Perth tees off to impress golf world
Director David Gardland checks out Karrinyup. Picture: Lincoln Baker/The West Australian

The inaugural Perth International - Australia's richest golf tournament - tees off at Lake Karrinyup today as a key plank in WA's multimillion- dollar tourism strategy.

According to tournament director David Garland, the event has the potential to develop into a bona fide tourist attraction for WA.

With hundreds of hours of television being beamed into 500 million lounge rooms around the world, the tournament would put enormous focus on Perth and WA, Mr Garland said.

He said the cancellation of a tournament in Spain that was also scheduled to run this weekend meant the golfing world was looking to Perth.

"They are going to see Perth as a great place to play golf and a great place to come and visit," Mr Garland said.

Perth has not hosted a major international golf tournament since 2009.

But, after four years of negotiation - and a promised $7.5 million from the State Government - the event has been confirmed for the next three years.

It is the only Australian tournament co-sanctioned with the star-studded European Tour but most of Europe's top golfers - including world top-10 ranked players Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Justin Rose - have bypassed it.

Mr Garland, who has worked on the European Tour for 22 years and is its director of operations, said the event should be viewed as a stepping stone to bigger tournaments.

"You will find that people involved in the tournament - the players, the officials, the media - will go back to Europe and say great things about the course, the hospitality and the city," Mr Garland said.

"This will enhance the reputation of the tournament and attract higher-ranked players."

Under the contract, event organiser IMG is obliged to deliver at least three players ranked in the world's top 25 for the tournament.

These are US Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, from South Africa, and Americans Jason Dufner and Bo Van Pelt.

Tourism Minister Kim Hames said IMG had done a great job to create a new event from scratch.

"Our shared goal is to build the Perth International into one of the feature golf tournaments in the Asia Pacific region," Dr Hames said.

'They are going to see Perth as a great place to play golf and a great place to come and visit.' "Tournament director

  • David Garland *