THE Oates Vic Open, the only professional golf tournament in the world to feature men and women competing at the same time on the same courses – and for equal prize money – has become increasingly popular with both players and fans.
The tournament tees off this week at 13th Beach Golf Links and for those not able to attend in person there will be live streaming of the event on the weekend, as well as some delayed TV coverage.
This year the tournament’s growing popularity has seen the prize money increased to AUD $1.3 million to be split equally between the men and women.
For the men defending champion is New South Welshman Dimitrios Papadatos, who was crowned the 2017 ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Player of the Year.
“It’s great and with the increase in prize money the tournament’s only going to get bigger and bigger,” Papadatos said this week.
“There are grandstands out here this year so I’m expecting some pretty big crowds which is always nice as a player, I’m looking forward to it.”
2004 winner Matthew Griffin said the tournament is one of the highlights on his calendar and not just due to the fact he returns as a former champion.
“There’s just a really nice feel around the whole event, you get to see a lot of old friends from the ladies side that you haven’t seen in a while and obviously it’s always great coming back to a place where you’ve won before as well,” said Griffin who was quick to praise the efforts of Golf Victoria for continuing to grow the popular tournament.
“They’ve done a great job in building the event, it just gets bigger every year. There are some tournaments around that are going the other way so it’s good to see this one growing each year.
“The whole idea of tournament golf is to get more people playing and if these kinds of events can draw more people to the game through participation and sponsorship it’s definitely a win for us as players because it obviously means we’re playing for a bigger prize like this year.”
Defending women’s champion Mel Reid, a six time winner on the Ladies European Tour said the equal amount of money on offer is not only good for the tournament, but for women’s golf as a whole.
“I think it’s great. I think that’s kind of the way that golf needs to go to a certain degree,” said Reid.
“There’s lots of equality chat going on at the minute all over the world and the prize money for the guys is obviously much more on the PGA TOUR than the LPGA.
“I don’t find that very acceptable and so it’s nice to have a tournament where it is equal. It’s great for the girls and great publicity for us. I hope that the guys enjoy us being around as well.
“For me, there should be way more tournaments like this at the same venue. I think it would be fantastic for golf.”
VIC OPEN VIDEO PREVIEW
VIC OPEN LIVE STREAMING & TV COVERAGE
Oates Vic Open TV Guide
The final two rounds of the 2018 Oates Vic Open will be live streamed from 12:30pm (AEDT) Saturday 3 February and 11:00am (AEDT) Sunday 4 February and will be available through PGA TV
A delayed broadcast will also air on Fox Sports on February 3 & 4.
The delayed telecast will air on Fox Sports 7 from 9:30pm (AEDT) on Saturday and Sunday.