Clarke sees the lighter side of Coolum
Wayne Heming
20:27 AEST Tue Dec 11 2012

Widely travelled British Open winner Darren Clarke thought he'd seen it all.

That was until he came across `Jeff' - the 20-metre long, 8.5-metre high dinosaur and a massive American flag with the words `John F Kennedy' underneath it painted on the grass at the approach to the ninth green at the Palmer Resort, venue for this week's Australian PGA Championship.

There were other signs around the course; `Freedom of Speech' on the 15th fairway and `World Peace' in front of the ninth tee.

"It's different, that's for sure," said an amused Clarke after his practice round with young Queenslander Rika Bati Basaga on Tuesday.

"But it's fine. Sponsors give us a lot and in this day and age you accept that it is what it is."

Last weekend's Australian Open winner Peter Senior didn't see a problem with the painted signs or the positioning of the dinosaur between the ninth green and 10th tee.

"It (dinosaur) doesn't worry me as long as it doesn't crap everywhere," joked Senior, a good chance of taking out the Open-PGA double.

This week's PGA will be the 11th and the last staged at Coolum after the resort's new owner, billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer, and senior PGA management failed to negotiate a new contract.

The PGA's concern over 61 advertising signs painted on the resort's 18 fairways and around the course almost led to Palmer pulling the pin on the tournament.

Even on Tuesday there were still concerns Palmer, who last season had members of his defunct Gold Coast United soccer team take the field in jumpers declaring `freedom of speech' to get his message across to officials, may have more surprises in store for the PGA.

"The signs out there at the moment aren't offensive. `Freedom of Speech' and `World Peace' doesn't cause us any concerns," PGA of Australia chief executive Brian Thorburn told AAP.

"Sport is 'apolitical' so we are not a platform for people to promote political messages so we wouldn't endorse anything like that."

Under the agreement the course is the PGA's property for the next seven days so Thorburn wasn't anticipating any dramas during the tournament.

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