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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 319
COVER wider golfing public. Sure, the event held at Lake Karrinyup won’t draw the crowds of the Presidents Cup held in Melbourne later this year, nor does it have the history of the Australian Open or life changing potential of a major championship win. But what it does have is atmosphere and intrigue in spades. Just how to perfect the television coverage and spectator experience of multiple six hole matches taking place around the Alex Russell design’s back nine is still a work in progress as the event enters its third year, but the sense of excitement on the grounds last year were unlike any I have personally experienced at other golf tournaments. Young players trying to make a name for themselves like Lucas Herbert and Dimi Papadatos, taking on veterans with a career reigniting chance like James Nitties, who then faced off in the final against a world class champion in the form of lovable Thai Kiradech Aphibarnrat. And that was just Sunday. That the European Tour and Pelley would become fully invested in an event that throws up various coverage challenges, has two cuts, only 24 players competing on the final day and could potentially end at a 90 metre “Shootout hole” is in keeping with the Tour’s risk/reward style of recent times. There has of course been mis-steps along the way. The recent debut of the Saudi International was condemned by many for Saudi Arabia’s record of human rights issues and the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Pelley stuck with the event amid the criticism, which falls into line with his desire to deliver his players more playing opportunities and greater prize funds, and is far from the first large golf event played in a country with questionable governance at the helm. But this, a website upgrade failure and, most
GA Express 318