Unlike his owner Clive Palmer, not a shy man, Jeff was eerily quiet over the first day of the Australian PGA Championship at Coolum.
He was following directions to a tee. There was no bellowing, no roaring, not even a golf clap from his tiny, useless arms. All he did was hypnotically wag his tail and wobble around in the strong winds buffeting the golf course at Palmer’s new resort.
Still, Jeff was getting plenty of attention. Even with a gag order in place, it’s difficult for an 8.5m Tyrannosaurus Rex to go incognito on a golf course hosting one of the biggest tournaments on the Australian calendar.
Australian PGA Championship fans did not seem to mind, and many posed for photographs with the apex predator, who busied himself during the upper cretaceous period devouring everything within bite. That was before being shipped to the Sunshine Coast via China by the mining magnate.
Jeff may not be alone for long. Palmer is intent on adding to his collection of enormous robotic dinosaurs and bringing them to the former Hyatt resort, which is now the Palmer Coolum Resort.
Instead of an elite golf destination, he hopes to turn it into a huge dinosaur park featuring 150 replicas. At least Palmer won’t have to worry about locking horns with golf organisers any more, with the tournament now heading elsewhere following a breakdown in discussions.
Jeff is holding court this week between the ninth green and 10th tee. One local councillor has already likened it to a scene from Happy Gilmore, where golfers have to bounce the ball off one of his legs before getting it in the hole.
Golf veteran Stuart Appleby was among those confounded by Jeff. He has played worldwide but can categorically say he has never flopped one out of the sand with a hulking bipedal carnivore in the background.
“I had a chip out of the bunker yesterday with this thing in the background. I said to (caddy) Mike (Waite) ‘I’ve never seen a dinosaur in the background of one shot I’ve hit in my life’,” Appleby said.
“I’m watching it now. It wasn’t moving yesterday. It is strange. It is hard to comprehend that stuff. We won’t get around to religion and beliefs but it’s pretty weird.”
China’s Zhang Xin-Jun, one of the early leaders, said he was dumbfounded to see towering over him the giant T-Rex, which is reputed to be named after Queensland deputy premier Jeff Seeney.
“Ha, ha … I'm astonished. I never thought will see dinosaur on a golf course, and during the practice round its eyes were moving and his tongue looked, well, almost real. It certainly makes the course look different,” Zhang said.