Australia’s richest golf tournament scrapped

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Australia’s embattled golf circuit received another demoralising blow Wednesday with confirmation that the country’s richest tournament, the Heineken Classic, had been scrapped.
The tournament’s promoter Tony Roosenburg said the Classic, scheduled for Royal Melbourne next February, had been unable to attract sufficient sponsorship for it to be an ongoing concern.

The date slot will now be taken by the Dubai Desert Classic, which is part of the European PGA Tour.

Roosenburg said he had hoped to be given until August 15 to attract new sponsors and make up a two million dollar (1.52 million USD) shortfall, but European Tour officials imposed an earlier deadline of July 1.

“It was our biggest tournament. It’s probably the only tournament which has disappeared off the calendar with 65 percent of its budget covered,” Roosenburg said.

“We’ll see if we can allocate that money to another event later in 2006 or in 2007.”

It is another huge blow to Australian golf, with state governments having to underwrite most events and the corporate dollar shrinking.