SPORTS

Working In Paradise

Steve Ayles has arrived with grand plans for the Fijian International in October. And with a wealth of experience, he is the man to take the tournament to the next
26 Jun 2015 09:00
Working In Paradise
Steve Ayles. Photo: Fijian International

Steve Ayles has arrived with grand plans for the Fijian International in October. And with a wealth of experience, he is the man to take the tournament to the next level.

The inaugural staging of the Fijian International was a huge success drawing the world’s attention to the popular tropical tourist destination for its ability to host an international quality tournament.

The tournament attracted some of the brightest golf talents including 13-time Japan Golf Tour winner Brendan Jones, two-time European Tour winner Anirban Lahiri, three-time Major champion Nick Price as well as the return of national hero and three-time Major winner, Vijay Singh.

“The first year of an event, I think it’s always good to look back and see you have had a well run event, that you have achieved the broadcast exposure domestically and overseas.,” said Ayles who has a background in sports rights and the event management sector.

“We had a great winner and a great field with the likes of Vijay Singh, so in terms of the promotion of Fiji, which is a big factor for us, I think most people considered it a great success.”

But Ayles, chief commercial officer for the PGA of Australia, is not a man content with resting on his laurels. He has a vision for the Fijian International which will see the tournament reach new heights in 2015.

“The first year of an event there are always a lot of people who are just going to wait and see. I think now people have seen how successful it is,” said Ayles, who is excited about the spectacular experiences the Fijian International offers.

“People have seen some of the hospitality options, being able to go down on the beach, and entertain adjacent to a par-3 is unique around the world, so we are expecting an increase in corporate clients and hospitality at the event this year.”

But the corporate guests aren’t the only fans being considered in 2015, the Fijian International team is working hard to ensure all spectators enjoy the best experience possible.

“We are working on a new layout in terms of our general operations and the flows, we learned a lot in this area last year,” Ayles said.

“I think you will see the changes made in this area will greatly improve the experience for the local spectator who attends.”

A tournament the stature of the Fijian International always relies heavily on the quality of the playing field, another area of great focus for Ayles and his team.

“We want to continue to improve the player field as this has a big impact on just about every metric you can measure the event by. It will improve the broadcast domestically and in key markets like New Zealand and Australia, but also into Asia as well.

“We are going to look at how we can broaden the appeal in Asia and that may mean inviting and increasing the number of players from those regions.

“At the end of the day, from a Fiji perspective, we are trying to showcase what an amazing place Fiji is and particularly a great place to play golf.”

In Fiji this week to launch the Fijian International, Ayles believes the biggest asset that the Fijian International has is its unique personality on the international golf stage.

“Players compete at events all over the US and Europe, but this is special, they can bring their family and while they compete in the tournament their family will have an amazing time.

“I mean the whole resort at the InterContinental and everything that Fiji offers is right there on top of an amazing golf course and an amazing location.

“This is different to what the professionals get to experience week in, week out,” he said.

 

About the Fijian International

The Fijian International will be played at Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course on October 15– 18.

Boasting a million dollar prize purse, the tournament signalled Fiji’s official arrival onto the golfing world stage with the Fijian Government, Fijian Tourism and Fiji’s number one golf ambassador, Vijay Singh, all making a push to put their country on the lucrative world golfing map.

As the newest tournament on the PGA Tour of Australasia and OneAsia tours, the inaugural Fijian International was a resounding success.

One hundred and twenty players from 16 different countries came together at the spectacular Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course to take on the challenging layout, designed by local hero Vijay Singh, to compete in the regions first ever internationally broadcast tournament.

Other players in the field included three-time Major Champion Nick Price, Fiji’s Dinesh Chand, India’s highest-ranked and world top-100 player Anirban Lahiri, China’s top-ranked players Liang Wenchong and Wu Ashun, and two of Australia’s most successful and respected golfers Craig Parry and Peter O’Malley

Hitting the very first tee shot of the Fijian International, Steven Jeffress went on to make history by sinking the last putt of the tournament as he birdied the 18th hole to claim the title by four shots from fellow Australian Jake Higginbottom.

Further information is available on www.fijiinternational.com .

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