22 Apr 2016

Sport: Fiji International joins European Tour

9:24 am on 22 April 2016

The Fiji International has been added to the European Tour schedule for 2016.

The event will be staged from 6-9 October and co-sanctioned by the European Tour and the PGA Tour of Australasia.

A minimum of 59 players in the field at the Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course will come from both tours, whilst an additional eight tournament invitations will add to the diversity of the field.

This year's Open will also see the highest number of positions set aside for local golfers, with a minimum of six places available from qualifying events in Fiji and for Fijian nationals.

Acting Prime Minister and Attorney-General Hon. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum welcomed the news.

"Being part of the European Tour provides Fiji unprecedented level of exposure and we will be able to reach markets where we do not have a presence."

Vijay Singh is returning home to compete in October's Fiji International golf tournament.

Fijian golfer Vijay Singh has been a major drawcard at his home tournament over the past two years. Photo: PGA of Australia

The acting Prime Minister added that the Fiji National Providence Fund has committed to upgrading the Natadola Golf Course.

"It is important that people not only enjoy the scenic view but also the golf course so that they come back to play the course and recommend it to their friends and families."

The 2016 Fiji International will be broadcast into almost 400 million homes around the world, including the Asian, North American and Australian markets.

"One of the key aims of the Fiji International is to showcase Fiji to the world as not only a beautiful island paradise, but also a golfing mecca," said Brian Thorburn, CEO of the PGA of Australia.

Thorburn said the tournament has been fast earning a reputation as a working holiday.

Matt Kuchar with the Fiji International trophy.

Matt Kuchar with the Fiji International trophy. Photo: Fiji International

"One of the key drawcards of the Fiji International is in fact Fiji as a destination. Players are able to bring their families to enjoy a holiday, whilst they compete in a world-class tournament. Last year, we saw our champion Matt Kuchar's family enjoying all the spectacular sites of Fiji, whilst Matt was busy winning the title. It makes for a very special week for everyone."

The allocation of Official World Golf Ranking points to the tournament is expected to increase as a result of this co-sanctioning.