Picturesque Natadola Bay will welcome superstar golfers from the European Tour and PGA Tour of Australasia for the 2016 Fiji International.
In a huge coup for Pacific golf, the FijiInternational is now a co-sanctioned stop on the European Tour and will playhost to some of the world's best golfers from 6-9 October.
But the PGA of Australia's agreement withthe European Tour doesn't mean any local talent miss out. In fact, morenationalities are likely to be represented in 2016 than in the first two yearsof the event.
A minimum of 59players will come from both the PGA Tour of Australasia and the European Tour.There will be eight additional invitations, as well as a minimum of six placesavailable from qualifying events in Fiji for Fijian nationals.
The talent of these prodigious golfers willbe broadcast into almost 400 million homes around the world, with 20 hours ofcoverage in the Asian, North American and Australian markets.
Partnership with one of the world's highestprofile tours is the culmination of a successful three years for the FijiInternational, which started when the PGA of Australia saw an opportunity to putFiji on the golfing map.
The success is in part due to Natadola BayChampionship Golf Course's breathtaking backdrop of coral reefs and PacificOcean views, which are visible from 15 of the 18 holes. However, the FijianGovernment, Fiji Tourism and Fiji's number one player, Vijay Singh, all playedcrucial roles in building the event's stature.
"One of the key aimsof the Fiji International was to showcase Fiji to the world as not only abeautiful island paradise, but also a golfing mecca," said Brian Thorburn, CEOof the PGA of Australia.
"With the PGA Tour ofAustralasia joining forces with the European Tour, we will see the exposure ofFiji significantly increased whilst also securing a deeper pool of talent tocompete for the title."
The island nation's unrivalled physicalbeauty and family-friendly atmosphere has elevated the Fiji International to 'workingholiday' status for tour players, where stars such as 2015 champion Matt Kucharand inaugural (2014) winner Steven Jeffress have jumped at the chance toinclude their families in the festivities.
But it's not just for the tour stars – golffans are escaping to the Coral Coast with their family, or a group of fellowgolfers. Coming from Australia and New Zealand they are kicking off summerearly and joining the PGA Tour of Australasia at this year's FijiInternational.
Planning a trip around watching thistournament can give a Fiji holiday unique value, says Jeffress.
"If you want to mix a family holiday andgolf tournament, I can't think of a better place in the world to do it,"says Jeffress.
"There's plenty to do for the whole familyand it's a pleasure to walk around Natadola Bay and watch high-quality golf.
"I'm looking forward to staying at theInterContinental again, so close to the course."
General admission tickets are on sale now. Severalhospitality package options exist that allow VIP tournament experience. Visit www.fijiinternational.com/tickets/for more information.
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