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Golf Australia Express : January 2013
was “a very small, insignificant part of what I do”. Try telling that to the thousands of United fans who had shelled out their hard-earned for the privilege of helping him keep his unloved and ailing franchise afloat. ALREADY THERE ARE PARALLELS between Palmer’s soccer sojourn and what has unfolded on the Australian golfing scene. In the weeks after Daniel Popovic saluted at Coolum in one of the more memorable PGA Championships of the past decade, its future was already uncertain, with Palmer and the PGA unable to agree to terms for a new deal to host it. PGA of Australasia chief executive Brian Thorburn offered a blunt analysis of the situation when quizzed after the event. “It won’t be at Coolum,” Thorburn said. “We would love to have stayed but we simply could not get an outcome to negotiations.” Tensions seemingly eased in the weeks since, with the PGA again dealing with Palmer and delaying a decision on the event’s home until sometime in January. More than 10 courses have reportedly bid for the tournament rights, although rumours abound that it is only a matter of time before another deal is inked with Palmer. It is understood that Palmer was happy to cough up sponsorship to the tune of $2 million in contra goods and services, but flinched at adding $700,000 cash to the arrangement. Such is the power of the dollar in a sport struggling to capture interest in a flooded marketplace. While the PGA would once have had no hesitation in cutting ties with Palmer, that kind of money—and the intention to spend it—doesn’t come around very often, and both parties know it. More encouraging is Palmer’s growing portfolio of embattled golf courses he has swooped on in the past two years. He pounced on both the Robina Woods and The Colonial golf courses in 2011 for bargain basement prices when they were placed into receivership, then added Port Douglas’ Sea Temple Golf and Country Club to his portfolio in November last year. It remains to be seen whether those purchases are indicative of a deeper love of the game, or if they are simply investments to be offloaded again when the price is right. The same can be asked about the former Hyatt Regency Coolum and the famed Aussie tournament that came with it. OTG Clive's Fore Acquisitions COVER the COVER the PALMER COOLUM RESORT (formerly Hyatt Regency Resort Coolum) SEA TEMPLE GOLF CLUB (formerly Sea Temple Golf & CC ) PALMER GOLD COAST (formerly Robina Woods) and PALMER COLONIAL (formerly Colonial Golf Club) BOUGHT: September 2011 PRICE: $7 million BOUGHT: November 2012 PRICE: $7 million BOUGHT: July 2011 from Lend Lease PRICE: Undisclosed