THE Australian Open will return to the Melbourne Sandbelt in 2020 and 2022, Golf Australia has officially announced.
Dates and venues are yet to be determined, but in conjunction with the Victorian Government, Golf Australia has confirmed that the two “release years” in the current eight-year contract to play in Sydney will be exercised in favour of Melbourne.
Golf Australia chief executive Stephen Pitt said the 2020 event would be the first since 2005 to be played outside Sydney.
“We’re excited to see the national championship return to Melbourne in 2020 and 2022 and we know that the golf clubs and golfers of Victoria will be delighted to have the Emirates Australian Open played on Victorian soil again,” Pitt said.
“These tournaments will be played on two of our country’s greatest courses and we are expecting them to be wonderful events.”
Whilst the exact venues are yet to be determined, one would think that clubs like Royal Melbourne, Kingston Heath, Victoria GC and the Metropolitan GC would be frontrunners to stage the events.
And despite some breathless reporting elsewhere that Victoria has “hijacked” the open in a move “dealing an embarrassing blow to the NSW government” the two “release years” in the current contract were always likely to go south.
GA and partners announced the current 8 year contract in 2015, with 2020 definitely listed as a “To Be Confirmed” venue.
Kingston Heath was venue for the World Cup of Golf last year, meaning no Australian Masters in Melbourne for 2016-2017, with the event confirmed not to be taking place this year, and no official word yet on its long term future.
Victorian Minister for Tourism and Major Events John Eren was delighted this week however that Melbourne would be hosting the Australian Open, the nation’s oldest continually run professional event, in 2020 and 2022.
“Victorian golf fans have a lot to look forward to as we bring the Emirates Australian Open back to Melbourne after 15 years,” Eren said.
“Thousands of travellers will be making their way to Victoria to see the world’s best in action and we’ll be showcasing what we do best to millions more on television.”
Mark Hardess, Australian Open tournament director for promoter Lagardère Sports, was also excited.
“The national Open is one of the most prestigious events on the Australian sporting calendar and I’m delighted for the golf-loving fans of Victoria that the Emirates Australian Open will again be staged in Melbourne after a 15-year wait,” Hardess said.
Australian Open Upcoming event date and venues:
So as it now stands the upcoming Australian Open golf event dates and venues are:
2017 Emirates Australian Open – The Australian Golf Club, NSW, Nov 23-26
2018 Emirates Australian Open – The Lakes Golf Club, NSW, Nov 22-25
2019 Emirates Australian Open – The Australian Golf Club, NSW
2020 Emirates Australian Open – Melbourne
2021 Emirates Australian Open – The Australian Golf Club, NSW
2022 Emirates Australian Open – Melbourne