Sanasana, Fiji: The Fiji International is set to become more global in 2016 thanks to a new co-sanctioning relationship between the PGA Tour of Australasia and the European Tour.
Professional golfers from all over the world will descend on Fiji when the tournament is played at Natadola Bay Golf Course from October 6-9.
The Acting Prime Minister and Attorney-General, Hon. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, welcomed the news of Fiji International being included as part of the European Tour.
“Being part of the European Tour provides Fiji an unprecedented level of exposure and we will be able to reach markets where we do not have a presence,” he said.
“Cyclone Winston has shown our vulnerability. Therefore, it is critical that we broaden our economic base and take up opportunities. We need to think outside the box. The Fijian Government a couple of years ago saw the future and took the leap to host a PGA event that opened up a new segment of tourism,” he added.
“It is important that people not only enjoy the scenic view but also the golf course so that they come back to play the course and recommend it to their friends and families.”
The Fiji International will be broadcast live into more homes thanks to European Tour Productions’ global reach with tens of millions of homes able to tune in.
“One of the key aims of the Fiji International is to showcase Fiji to the world as not only a beautiful island paradise, but also a golfing mecca,” said Brian Thorburn, CEO of the PGA of Australia, which oversees the PGA Tour of Australasia.
Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the European Tour, said: “It is tremendous news that the Fiji International will be played on the European Tour for the first time this year. The tournament will not only increase the playing opportunities for our members, it will also increase our presence on the world stage.
“The European Tour’s first visit to one of the world’s most beautiful holiday destinations is set to excite our players and Fiji’s golf fans alike. Our thanks go to the Fijian Government and the PGA Tour of Australasia, with whom we are forging an ever-stronger relationship through our co-sanctioned tournaments.”
The Fiji International is fast earning a reputation as a working holiday.
“One of the key drawcards of the Fiji International is in fact Fiji as a destination. Players are able to bring their families to enjoy a holiday, whilst they compete in a world-class tournament,” added Thorburn.
“Last year, we saw Matt Kuchar’s family enjoying all the spectacular sites of Fiji, whilst Matt was busy winning the title. It makes for a very special week for everyone.”
A minimum of 59 players will come from both the PGA Tour of Australasia and the European Tour, whilst an additional eight tournament invitations will add to the diversity of the field.
This year’s tournament will also see the highest number of positions set aside for Fijian golfers, with a minimum of six places available from qualifying events in Fiji and for Fijian nationals.
With the PGA of Australia’s continuing relationship with the China Golf Association and the Korean Golf Association, players from both these Tours will also be invited to play in the event.
The inaugural Fiji International in 2014 signalled Fiji’s official arrival onto the global golfing stage, with the Fijian Government, Fiji Tourism and Fiji’s number one player, Vijay Singh, all making a push to put their country on the lucrative world golfing map.
Among other things, the tournament boasts some of the most unique hospitality options in world golf with the par-three fourth hole providing the perfect vantage point to watch the golf, whilst socialising on the beach.
Hainan Island, China: Yalong Bay Golf Club, one of China’s best-known and most prolific tournament venues, has joined the Asian Golf Industry Federation.