MINISTER for youth and sports Viliame Naupoto is excited about the prospect of hosting the Fiji International — an international golf tournament sanctioned by the PGA Australia.
Last Thursday, the Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, signed a memorandum of understanding with PGA Australia to host the event for the next five years.
Held at the Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course, the tournament is guaranteed a prize purse of $US1 million ($F1.82 million).
Naupoto, a golf enthusiast himself, said his ministry was fully behind the idea of helping sports grow in the country to accommodate the international market.
He said the event would boost the profile of golf in the country.
"Golf is considered a minor sport in Fiji but look at how much it will benefit us for the next five years with this Fiji International," Naupoto said.
"This is a big plus for the sport and it will help lift the profile of golf."
He said the event had come at the right time because golf was the other sport with sevens rugby that had been included in the Olympic Games.
Naupoto added the tournament could go on for more than five years if it is run the right way.
"For a tournament of this calibre, if we do it right from the beginning, it will be great and go on to become one of the most sought after destinations.
"Maybe in the years to come, we can organise a plan to coincide the Fiji International with rugby or other sports so we can milk as much as we can out of it."
Naupoto said golf was a sport for all ages and was hoping the Fiji International would lure more people in the country to take it up.
"We want to offer the widest spectrum of choices in sports for people because not everyone will make it big in rugby or soccer or netball."