Tweed loses golf tournament
MONEY makes the world go 'round and in the case of Clive Palmer's substantial bank account, it also takes the four 18-hole rounds of the Greg Norman Junior Masters away from its home for the past 19 years, Coolangatta-Tweed Heads Golf Club.
The tournament, Australia's most prestigious junior event, has attracted 230 of the world's best young players plus many hundreds of family members and golf enthusiasts to the region each December for nigh on two decades.
The tournament, which will be held from December 14-18, will this year be played on three of the mining magnate's courses - The Colonial, Robina Woods and Palmer Coolum Resort.
CTGC officials are shattered by the news as the tournament down the years has helped nurture the careers of many outstanding juniors such as Karrie Webb and Adam Scott.
"We have lost the club's biggest tournament of the year as well as the vital exposure and financial injection that comes with it," said CTGC golf and functions manager, Michelle Lonergan.
"It's a big blow for us and obviously we are very disappointed.
"We had the world's best junior golfers playing in the tournament and their families and friends come to the Tweed and make a holiday of it."
Ms Lonergan added that her club will probably be forced to cancel its Renay Appleby Memorial Tournament the day before the start of the masters because there will not be enough juniors available to play.
Ms Lonergan explained the Greg Norman Golf Foundation lost its funding from the Queensland Government last year because the tournament wasn't played in Queensland.
She said that Mr Palmer, who is on the Greg Norman Golf Foundation Board, gave the foundation the (financial) incentive to play at his courses.
"Unfortunately we can't compete with that," Ms Lonergan said.
The foundation's CEO, Rae Clarke, said the move was financially motivated and added that it was hoped the 72-hole event would be refreshed by being conducted on three different courses.
"Clive was very generous in offering us the courses for free," Ms Clarke said.
"It will be sad to leave Tweed Heads but we've been offered the opportunity to provide the ultimate test of golf for an international junior championship."