Thursday, 21 April 2016
Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course ()
Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course ()

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  • Hospitality beach beside the par three fourth hole at Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course
The Fiji International is set to become even 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 are set to descend on Fiji when the tournament is played at Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course from October 6–9.

The Acting Prime Minister and Attorney-General Hon. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum welcomed the news of the Fiji International’s inclusion on The European Tour. 

“Being part of the European Tour provides Fiji with an unprecedented level of exposure, and we will be able to reach markets where we do not have a presence,” said the Hon. Acting Prime Minister.

“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. A couple of years ago, the Fijian Government saw the future and took the leap to host a PGA event that opened up a new segment of tourism.”

The Acting Prime Minister added that the FNPF (Fiji National Provident Fund) has committed to upgrading the Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course. He said: “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 new co-sanctioning relationship between the PGA Tour of Australasia and The European Tour is set to attract a stronger field, with more nationalities represented than ever before. The Fiji International will also be broadcast live into more homes thanks to European Tour Productions’ global reach.  

Close to 400 million homes around the world, including the important Asian, North American and Australian markets, will witness the beauty of Fiji as the Fiji International is broadcast live for 20 hours this year.

“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.

“With the PGA Tour of Australasia joining forces with The European Tour this year, we will see the exposure of Fiji significantly increased whilst also securing a deeper pool of talent to compete for the title.” 

The European Tour is one of the strongest professional golf tours in the world, and 2016 will see their global presence boosted with their first visit to Fiji.

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, and I’m sure the tournament will be a huge success. 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 news of the Fiji International joining The European Tour International Schedule is sure to excite European professional golfers, with the tournament 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 our champion 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. This ensures Fiji’s leading golfers continue to have the opportunity to compete and enhance their skills in a world-class tournament alongside the best players in the world.

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.

Due to the involvement of The European Tour, the Fiji International cements its position as one of the strongest tournaments on the PGA Tour of Australasia, with the allocation of Official World Golf Ranking points to the tournament likely to increase as a result of this co-sanctioning. 

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.

In 2015, the Fiji International established a reputation amongst the world’s best golfers as a must-attend event for themselves and their families.

This year, the Fiji International will expand its global presence and confirm its position as an integral tournament in the South Pacific region.

The tournament also 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.

More than just a golf tournament, the Fiji International aims to leave a lasting legacy for golf in the Pacific region, with the PGA of Australia supporting initiatives to introduce and grow the game in Fiji.

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