International golf stars meet the ‘locals’

Friday, 18 October 2013
Branden Grace with Crumbles the Joey

A special delivery arrived at the ISPS HANDA Perth International this afternoon for our international players.

A hand-raised koala and joey were brought to Lake Karrinyup Country Club by Caversham Wildlife Park keepers to give them a taste of Australia.

US golfing star and seven-time PGA Tour winner Dustin Johnson, fiancée Paulina Gretzky and brother Austin Johnson who is caddying for him this week; four time European Tour winner, South African Branden Grace; and defending champion from the US Bo Van Pelt had the chance to meet six-year-old Sunshine the Koala and eight-month-old Crumbles the white-coloured Red Kangaroo joey.

It was the first time any of them had seen a koala, or seen a kangaroo up close.

Dustin said he and Paulina were hoping to have the chance to see some native animals while visiting Western Australia for the ISPS HANDA Perth International.

While tentative at first, they each held Sunshine and Crumbles, who have both been raised in captivity at the Park.

Paulina said the 10.5kg koala wasn't as heavy as it looked.

Branden said although he had seen kangaroos on the golf course this week during the tournament, this was a whole new experience.

“I didn't think a koala would be this big! It’s adorable.” He was soon scratching it on the back of the neck and it would have been hard to take the smile from his face.

“It’s nice to get up to these smaller animals, you certainly couldn't do this with the wildlife at home!” he said.

Caversham Wildlife Park provides an interactive experience for visitors to meet Australia’s wildlife.

Visitors are welcome to feed the kangaroos, pose with koalas, and meet the marsupials, reptiles and birds.

It houses some 200 species including emus, echidnas, lizards, quolls, owls, cockatoos and flying foxes.

The ISPS HANDA Perth International continues over the weekend at Lake Karrinyup Country Club, widely acknowledged as Western Australia’s premier golf club.

It is the only Australian tournament to be co-sanctioned by the European Tour and the PGA Tour of Australasia.

With US$2 million in prize money, the tournament is Australia’s richest tour event and is proudly supported by the International Sports Promotion Society (ISPS), and the Western Australian Government, through Eventscorp. The ISPS HANDA Perth International is also partnered with premium brands including Volkswagen, Crown Perth, The West Australian, the Seven Network and TAG Heuer.