Emerging superstar Min Woo Lee is the first player signed on for the $2 million Fortinet Australian PGA Championship to be played at Royal Queensland Golf Club from November 23-26.
One of the key pillars of the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia season and the first event of the 2024 DP World Tour season, the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship is again expected to draw a world-class field headlined by Australian stars.
Cameron Smith gave his home-town fans exactly what they were hoping for in 2022 with a dramatic three-stroke victory that had the enormous galleries and a large TV audience enthralled until the final putt dropped.
Top five in each of the past two Australian PGA championships staged at Royal Queensland, Lee’s stature continues to grow within the golf world. He burst into the consciousness of American golf fans with a thrilling debut at THE PLAYERS Championship in March, his flair for the spectacular and engagement with crowds fast making him a fan favourite.
“Given his schedule across both the PGA TOUR and DP World Tour, having Min Woo commit to the tournament so far in advance is a tremendous coup for the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship,” said PGA of Australia CEO, Gavin Kirkman.
“Since bursting onto the scene as a teenager in Perth a few years ago, Min Woo has been on a steady progression to the point where he is now one of the best players in the world.
“He played brilliantly to win the Vic Open in 2020 but I am sure he would love to get his hands on the Joe Kirkwood Cup at Royal Queensland in November.”
In addition to the quality of players, one of the major drawcards to RQ for the past two staging’s of the Australian PGA Championship has been the par-3 17th ‘Party Hole’.
An Adam Scott birdie on Friday sent fans into a frenzy, further solidifying the Australian PGA Championship as a must-see sporting experience.
Some of Brisbane’s sporting stars turned out to watch Scott and other last year, and they’ll take it to the next level this year with a cross-code “Road to the Champs” competition being launched today with the Bronco’s golf-loving pair Adam Reynolds and Corey Oates, Brisbane Heat’s Usman Khawaja and the Brisbane Bullet’s Nathan Sobey, drawing on the popularity of golf amongst elite athletes.
Tapping into Brisbane’s passion for their sporting teams, the inter-club/code golfing competition will run until November culminating with teams including the Broncos, Heat and Bullets naming a ‘Club Champion’, with these individuals earning a sought-after spot in the official pre-event Pro-Am.
The first stop for next season’s DP World Tour, Ben Cowen, DP World Tour Chief Tournament Business Officer, said: “We are delighted to return to Brisbane this November for the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship at Royal Queensland Golf Club.
“Our strategic alliance with the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia underlines our joint commitment to providing playing opportunities for both memberships, as well as a formalised pathway for players to compete on the biggest stage, and we thank the Queensland Government for their support in helping us deliver a world-class sporting event.”
“These playing opportunities continue to come to fruition with this year’s Order of Merit winner David Micheluzzi, as well as Tom Power Horan and Andrew Martin who finished second and third respectfully, exempt with full cards on the DP World Tour for the 2024 season,” he said.
Queensland Tourism and Sport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said: “it’s terrific that Australia’s oldest professional golf tournament is back at the iconic Royal Queensland course again in 2023.
“The PGA has assembled another cracking field this year, which should ensure big galleries are out enjoying the golf and Queensland’s great lifestyle.
“This year’s event is expected to attract around 6 thousand visitors to Queensland, injecting some $15 million into the local economy.”
Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said the event was a major driver for visitation, with thousands of fans set to deliver a $15 million economic boost to Brisbane this year.
“The Australian PGA Championship is the latest premier event that confirms Brisbane’s rank among the world’s best sporting destinations,” Cr Schrinner said.
“Our enviable outdoor lifestyle, well-appointed venues, and vibrant culture make Brisbane the perfect place to tee off the 2024 DP World Tour season.
“With last year’s competition attracting 62,000 fans, our hotels, restaurants, and local attractions enjoy a huge upswing in patronage too.”
As the countdown continues to the Brisbane Olympics in 2032, Royal Queensland Golf Club President Evelyn Foley is thrilled that the club’s association with one of Australia’s most prestigious tournaments will continue in 2023.
“Our members take great pride in their course staging such an important championship as the Australian PGA,” said Foley.
“As we have seen at the past two tournaments, the course serves as a wonderful canvas on which some of the world’s best players can showcase their extraordinary skills.
“The number of fans that flocked to RQ last November was quite incredible and we’re looking to welcoming them all back – and more – this November.”
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