Tacky ... Jeff the T-Rex is making a big impression. Photo: Brett Wortman/Sunshine Coast Dai
JEFF the T-Rex is casting an almighty pall of controversy over the coming Australian PGA Championship.
The life-sized dinosaur replica, installed by mining magnate Clive Palmer at one of the classiest resorts in the country, has been dubbed ''tacky''.
The billionaire wants to build 150 robotic dinosaurs across the Palmer Coolum Resort, which is staging the golf championship on December 13. Jeff the T-Rex is only the beginning.
Sunshine Coast councillor Russell Green said the dinosaurs would turn the resort into a ''version of Looney Tunes".
''It has an international reputation,'' he said. ''The Australian PGA is staged there of which council is a very big supporter and the resort itself is a very big supporter as well.
''It's almost turning into a scene out of Happy Gilmore where you putt down the fairway, you bounce the ball off T-Rex's left leg and get it into the 18th hole - it's quite bizarre.''
Cr Green said if Mr Palmer pushed forward with his plan to build 149 more dinosaurs then he would have to seek council approval.
In a statement, Mr Palmer said the tournament would put Queensland in the tourism shop window of the world.
''At Palmer Coolum Resort we have the premier golf course … and we are delighted to show the rest of the world what a fantastic tourism location we have,'' he said.
''Of course we now have 'Jeff', our huge T-Rex, as an added attraction and I'm sure he will enjoy the attention from both golfers and spectators.''
More than 36,000 spectators are expected when the Australian PGA Championship tees off on December 13.
More than 415 million homes in 40 countries from Asia, the Americas and Europe will receive the televised broadcast. Already confirmed are defending champion Greg Chalmers, 2011 British Open winner Darren Clarke, 2006 US Open winner Geoff Ogilvy, six-time US PGA Tour winner Rory Sabbatini and Marc Leishman, who is the only Australian to win on the PGA Tour this year.
The 156-man field will include about 30 of Australia's top 50 professional players all vying for a share of the $1.25 million in prize money.