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Australian PGA back on track: organisers
Laine Clark
21:23 AEST Mon Dec 10 2012

Organisers claim plans for this week's Australian PGA golf tournament on Queensland's Sunshine Coast are back on track after talks on Monday eased concerns over the course's controversial signage.

After settling a dispute with the Coolum course's owner - maverick billionaire Clive Palmer - that almost resulted in the event being cancelled on Sunday, organisers spent Monday speaking with stakeholders over the signage's impact on the tournament.

Sponsors and players were believed to be unimpressed by Palmer's decision to paint signage promoting his company Mineralogy, his proposed Titanic replica and "Freedom of Speech" on the course.

Palmer had already raised eyebrows by placing an eight metre replica dinosaur dubbed `Jeff' near the ninth green.

But PGA Tour of Australasia chief executive Brian Thorburn said it was business as usual for the tournament starting on Thursday after Monday's talks.

"Over the last couple of days the PGA has been addressing some signage concerns with Palmer Coolum Resort," he said in a statement.

"I'm pleased to say that the issues have been resolved this afternoon, and the tournament will remain unaffected.

"We're looking forward to staging yet another successful Australian PGA Championship on the Sunshine Coast and welcoming our professionals to Palmer Coolum Resort."

The tournament will be headlined by Greg Norman, 2011 British Open winner Darren Clarke and Peter Senior who will hope to complete a rare Australian Open-Australian PGA double.

At one stage on Sunday Palmer told organisers that they were no longer welcome at his resort which had hosted the event for a decade.

However, Palmer later tweeted: "We had some issues with @pgaofaustralia but all now resolved amicably and we are looking forward to the tournament at Palmer Coolum Resort".

But the event's days are numbered at Coolum.

It is expected to be relocated to the Gold Coast from next year after negotiations with Palmer about continuing the tournament at Coolum were terminated.

Palmer's outspoken ways cost him the Gold Coast A-League licence in February.

The mining magnate had been a vocal critic of Football Federation Australia but the final straw was donning "Freedom of Speech" on the Gold Coast United players' jerseys and signage around grounds.

Thorburn is expected to hold a press conference on Tuesday to discuss the tournament's future.

Robert Allenby - the first to win the Australian Masters, Australian PGA and Australian Open in the same year - said the Coolum course would be missed.

"Coolum is one of my favourites. It will be a loss not having it there but that's a sign of the times," he told Channel Ten.

"People buy resorts and things change."

Allenby didn't sound like he looked forward to meeting "Jeff", the robotic Tyrannosaurus rex that roars and can move his tail and jaws.

"I've heard it sounds like we are going to Jurassic Park so this will be interesting," he said.

"Hopefully the dinosaurs are not on the actual holes."


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