Tokyo – Last year's U.S. Masters champion Charl Schwartzel will tee off at the October 18-21 Perth International, which organisers hope will become a major stop on the golfing calendar for years to come.
With prize money of $2 million, the event will become Australia's richest and world number nine Jason Dufner is another who will appear at Lake Karrinyup.
“It's the biggest purse in Australia and we are pushing for more big names in the run-up to the event,” spokesperson Janine Pittaway told Reuters on Friday.
“The event is supported by the tour of Western Australia and the plan is for it to become a long-term tournament for Western Australia, like the Heineken Classic and Johnnie Walker Classic.”
South African Schwartzel has already won seven times on the European Tour, culminating in his stunning victory at the 2011 U.S. Masters, where he became the first player to birdie the final four holes to win at Augusta.
The 27-year-old will be bidding to emulate countrymen Gary Player, Ernie Els and Retief Goosen, who are all past champions at Lake Karrinyup.
“I have always enjoyed the people and the culture (in Australia) and the great sporting rivalry between our countries in cricket and rugby,” Schwartzel said in a statement.
“I am looking forward to visiting Perth and hopefully I can continue the South African success at Lake Karrinyup.”
Dufner has been a model of consistency this year, the 35-year-old runner-up at the 2011 U.S. PGA Championship and boasting seven top 10 finishes this season.
“I have a real affinity for Australia and have heard a lot of great things about Perth and Western Australia,” said Dufner, set to make his Ryder Cup debut next month.
“Hopefully I can continue my good play Down Under,” added the American. “I am excited to have the opportunity to play in Western Australia for the first time.”
The event is co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia and the European Tour and the winner of the event will receive an exemption to the World Golf Championships, the HSBC Champions. – Reuters