The Fiji International is officially underway as the stars of world sport came together last night to celebrate the commencement of Fiji?s most prestigious golf tournament.
Hosted by the PGA of Australia and Sports and Entertainment Limited (SEL) at the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort, attendees were treated to a spectacular evening which drew government, sporting and celebrity personalities alike.
Former Australian Cricketer, Brendon Julian, was on hand to oversee official proceedings, with opening speeches made by the CEO of the PGA, Brian Thorburn together with SEL?s managing Director, Basil Scaffidi and Fiji Prime Minister, Rear Admiral (Retired) Voreque Bainimarama.
An assembly of Fijian Government dignitaries were also attended, including his Excellency President of the Republic Fiji, Ratu Epeli Lailatikau, The Honourable Faiyaz Koya, Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism and the Honourable Laisenia Bale Tiotubou, Minister for Youth and Sports.
?Securing the PGA was definitely a hole-in-one for Fiji. And I?m delighted to be here tonight to officially launch the tournament, which is even bigger and better than the inaugural event last year,? said Mr. Bainimarama.
?The Fijian Government is very pleased to continue its partnership with PGA Australia into the second tournament after our highly successful inaugural event last year.?
?We certainly see this as a long term partnership with mutual benefits both for Fiji and for the promotion of golf for many years to come.?
Mr Thorburn expressed his gratitude for the support of the Fijian Government, which is central in the success of the Fiji International, and showed appreciation for their backing.
?Thank you to the Government of the Republic of Fiji for all of your support. We wouldn?t be here tonight without you,? Mr Thorburn.
Rugby, Fiji?s national sport, was also well represented with Fiji 7s Coach and Fiji International Brand Ambassador, Ben Ryan, along with the Vodafone Fiji Rugby 7s team World Champions Osea Kolinisau and Emosi Mulevoro all in attendance. While former Rugby League player turned model and Ambassador for Tourism Fiji, Kris Smith, also joined the celebrations.
But the night wouldn?t have been complete without the marquee Professionals. Former World Number 1 and local hero, Vijay Singh, World Number 16, Matt Kuchar and Fiji International defending champion, Steve Jeffress, each attended and were recognised during the evening, with Singh and Kuchar answering questions.
Mr Thorburn also pointed out the impact Singh has had on the Fiji International in its short life and his assistance in putting the tournament on an international platform.
?You?ve put the country of Fiji on the world map, you?ve designed an unbelievable golf course at Natadola Bay and you?ve helped us put our tournament on the international stage of great golf tournaments.?
The Fiji International will be played at Natadola Bay Championship Golf Club from the 15th – 18th October and will be broadcast internationally on FoxSports.