Tourism Minister Norman Moore announced today that IMG and Guinness UDV (United Distillers and Vintners), in association with the Western Australian Government, would be staging one of the world's richest golfing events, the Johnnie Walker Classic, in Perth from January 24-27, 2002.
Mr Moore said this was a major coup for WA, as the event was one of the most significant on the international golfing calendar.
"The Johnnie Walker Classic has not been held in Australia since 1997 and will be Australia's richest tournament, offering a minimum of $2.3 million in prizemoney,” he said.
"Worldwide television coverage and event publicity will give Perth a tremendous international profile."
The Johnnie Walker Classic is jointly owned by IMG and UDV.
Martin Jolly, managing director of IMG Australia and New Zealand, said the Johnnie Walker Classic was one of golf's highest profile events and the decision to stage it in Perth was part of the five-year agreement it had with the WA Government through EventsCorp.
"The Johnnie Walker Classic is the only tournament in the world to be tri-sanctioned by the European, Australasian and Asian Tours,” he said.
"It is simply a world-class event from which we will launch the Perth International Golf Tournament, which will now commence in November 2002.”
Tiger Woods is the current holder of the Johnnie Walker Classic title when he won the event for the second time in Bangkok last November.
Other winners over the 10-year history of the tournament include Nick Faldo, Greg Norman, Fred Couples, Ian Woosnam, Michael Campbell and Ernie Els.
Players competing in the 2002 event will be announced in coming months.
The PGA Tour Australia has sanctioned the Perth International to be held in Week 46 of the ANZ Tour, preceding the Holden Australian Open.
Hartley Joynt, Minister's office, 9321 1444,
Martin Jolly, IMG, 0418 318 719.