A T-rex on the golf course?

  • By Dennis Passa Associated Press
  • Tuesday, December 11, 2012 9:50pm
  • SportsGolfSports

COOLUM, Australia — Golfers at the Australian PGA Championship might feel as if they are going back in time.

Way back in time.

The new owner of the Palmer Coolum Resort has erected a 26-foot mechanical T-rex between the ninth green and 10th tee, which flips its tail and opens its mouth for a menacing roar when anyone approaches. The owner, billionaire Australian mining magnate Clive Palmer, has at least agreed to turn it off during the tournament.

But it’s one reason the Australian PGA Championship will be leaving Coolum after 11 years.

“I’ve heard it sounds like we are going to Jurassic Park, so this will be interesting,” Robert Allenby said.

Palmer wants to import more molded dinosaurs and turn the ocean resort into a theme park, or maybe a casino. But his plans have clashed with a tournament that dates to 1905. The owner already has put up more than 60 signs around the golf course to promote his interests, which includes his plan to build a replica of the Titanic.

Some of those signs, however, are in the landing areas on the fairways. That forced organizers to mark those areas “ground under repair,” where golfers will be able to move the ball if the shot is affected by the signs.

On Sunday, the issue came to a head with Australasian PGA Tour officials, and the tournament appeared in jeopardy. The show will go on, at least this year. PGA chief executive Brian Thorburn said Tuesday this will be the last year at Coolum. It will be played in Queensland next year, and the tour is looking at other options beyond that in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

Thorburn said he wouldn’t get into the “cut and thrust” of the negotiations Sunday, or how close the tournament was to being canceled.

“We have had a great run on the Sunshine Coast, it has been fantastic, but nothing stays forever,” Thorburn said. “Emotionally, it will be sad.”

Palmer tweeted on Sunday: “We had some issues with pgaofaustralia but all now resolved amicably and we are looking forward to the tournament at Palmer Coolum Resort.”

The tournament moved to Coolum in 2002 after two years at Royal Queensland in Brisbane. But it’s also been played at Royal Melbourne, where Hale Irwin (1978) and Seve Ballesteros (1981) were among the winners, and other top Australian courses. This year’s field includes Adam Scott, Greg Norman, Darren Clarke, Geoff Ogilvy and Australian Open champion Peter Senior.

The T-rex is nicknamed “Jeff” and it is activated by movement. Golfers playing social rounds recently have taken “dinosaur mulligans” when the roar occurs during a backswing on the 10th tee.

Palmer has agreed to turn off the robotic features of the dinosaur during the tournament, although it might be featured during Wednesday’s pro-am.

When asked if he ever imagined the century-old Australian PGA Chanpionship would be played on a course with a 26-foot T-rex, Thourburn smiled and said “no.”

“But having said that, let’s put it into perspective,” he added. “It has generated some tremendous publicity for this tournament and we don’t have a big marketing budget so in that regard everybody knows that the PGA is on at Coolum at the moment.”

Defending champion Greg Chalmers was taken aback by the prehistoric beast.

“I’m glad it’s not roaring, that’s a good start,” Chalmers said. “It is just a little strange. It is not what I expected to see.”

More in Sports

Everett’s Garrett Pilon controls the puck in the first period Sunday afternoon at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett on February 18, 2018. The Silvertips won 4-0. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Silvertips complete a season sweep of the Kamloops Blazers

Martin Fasko-Rudas joins the Silvertips’ top line and helps spark Everett to a 4-0 victory

Dillon puts the No. 3 car back to Victory Lane at Daytona

Dillon earns the victory for his grandfather’s team, Richard Childress Racing

Team LeBron edges Team Stephen in NBA All-Star Game

LeBron James earns MVP honors as his team scores a 148-145 victory

Pairings announced for regional basketball playoffs

Lynnwood and Stanwood girls face each other Saturday at Jackson High School

Jackson swimmer wins 2 more titles, Glacier Peak claims a pair

Snohomish County schools were well represented on the podium at the state swimming championships.

BLOG: Onyebuchi, Centazzo return with Blazers in 4-0 Everett victory

Two former Everett Silvertip fan favorites returned to Angel of the Winds… Continue reading

Girls reign: Glacier Peak, Snohomish wrestlers win titles

Glacier Peak’s Kiley Hubby, Snohomish’s Joessie Gonzales work out together, created a ‘special bond.’

Lake Stevens’ Malachi Lawrence celebrates his 182 weight championship in the 30th Annual Mat Classic Saturday night at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma on February 17, 2018. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Stanwood, Lake Stevens wrestlers crowned again at Mat Classic

Mason Phillips wins his third state title in a row while Malachi Lawrence goes back-to-back.

BLOG: Ormsby gets assist, Luding last laugh against former teams

Both the Everett Silvertips and Seattle Thunderbirds gained three out of a… Continue reading

Most Read