SPORTS

Brian Thorburn to leave as head of PGA of Australia

FILE - In this May 2, 2016, file photo, Harold Varner III tees off the 18th hole during the final round of the PGA Zurich Classic golf tournament at TPC Louisiana in Avondale, La. Varner held on to win the Australian PGA Championship in Gold Coast, Australia, on Sunday, Dec.4, 2016 by two shots after a roller-coaster last round of 65 that included seven birdies and two bogeys in an entertaining nine-hole stretch at Royal Pines. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

FILE - In this May 2, 2016, file photo, Harold Varner III tees off the 18th hole during the final round of the PGA Zurich Classic golf tournament at TPC Louisiana in Avondale, La. Varner held on to win the Australian PGA Championship in Gold Coast, Australia, on Sunday, Dec.4, 2016 by two shots after a roller-coaster last round of 65 that included seven birdies and two bogeys in an entertaining nine-hole stretch at Royal Pines. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)  (The Associated Press)

Chief executive Brian Thorburn will leave the PGA of Australia in February after six years in charge of the country's major professional golf organization.

Golfer Peter O'Malley, chairman of the PGA Board, said in a statement Wednesday that Thorburn had helped the Australian tour enhance its relationship with the European Tour, increase prize money and expand tournaments to Fiji, New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea.

Thorburn also oversaw the moving of the Australian PGA tournament to Royal Pines in 2013. On Sunday, American Harold Varner III won the Australian PGA on the Gold Coast course in Queensland state.

O'Malley said two PGA executives, Gavin Kirkman and Stuart Hergt, will share chief executive duties on an interim basis while a search is completed for a new CEO.