The ISPA HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia will forge ahead in 2021 with its seven-event schedule to start the new year despite the ongoing border uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the wake of the Blitz Golf event at Glenelg Golf Club in Adelaide to start the year, the Australasian Tour’s next tournament was the Gippsland Super 6 at Yallourn Golf Club east of Melbourne starting Thursday, January 21.
That will be followed a week later by the inaugural event in The Players Series hosted by former US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy before Moonah Links on the Mornington Peninsula hosts the Victorian PGA Championship and Moonah Links Classic on its two courses in the space of nine days.
The Tour is then scheduled to move to Sydney for The Players Series event to be hosted by NRL great Braith Anasta at Bonnie Doon Golf Club followed by the ISUZU Queensland Open at Pelican Waters Golf Club (March 11-14). The Tour will conclude its 2020-2021 season with the NSW Open at Concord Golf Club from March 25-28.
Under a new permit system for interstate travellers, Victoria is currently open to all states with the exception of those from Greater Brisbane and Greater Sydney that are currently classified as “red zones”.
Those zones will be reviewed daily by the Victorian Government but the inability of some players to attend will mean that tournament results will not count towards the official Order of Merit.
“As it stands right now, Members from Sydney and Brisbane won’t be able to travel into Melbourne for the first event. For that reason we wouldn’t count the prizemoney on the Order of Merit, however, they will remain official events and the winners will be recognised on our tour and gain the exemptions that go with the win,” said PGA Tour of Australasia Tournaments Director Nick Dastey.
“Despite that unfortunate reality we are hopeful of a change to the border restrictions in the very near future and remain determined to move forward with the events and give those players who can attend an opportunity to return to tournament golf and get back to earning an income.
“People understand how difficult it has been in these circumstances to stage golf tournaments over the past 12 months but with the help of our key stakeholders we’re excited to get back out on the course and watch our best players in action.”
With uncertainty surrounding the recommencement of both the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour in 2021, a run of events in the early months of the year similar to that which Australia conducted in the 1980s and 1990s should feature strong local fields.
“Many of our Members with status overseas are still unsure when their tours will be up and running so we’re expecting to see as many as possible playing our local events,” Dastey said.
“Guys who play in Asia and Japan will be given the opportunity to play tournament golf again, we’ve got young players desperate to show their talents, veterans who are always competitive and we’ll be able to showcase wonderful female talent through The Players Series.
“We’ve seen a tremendous surge in the popularity of golf among recreational players these past nine months and we hope to see many of those people out at the events and inspired even more by watching our talented athletes in action.”
Next week will be the second staging of the Gippsland Super 6 tournament with Tom Power Horan taking out the inaugural event in November 2019.
Power Horan will be back to defend his title in what shapes as a stellar field, veterans such as Ogilvy, Marcus Fraser and David McKenzie confirmed starters alongside recent Tour winners including Anthony Quayle, Aaron Pike, Brad Kennedy, Jake McLeod and Matthew Griffin.
Three-time Asian Tour winner Terry Pilkadaris, three-time China Golf Tour winner Maverick Antcliff and emerging talents Blake Windred and David Micheluzzi are also among the tournament entries.
The Players Series Victoria will be broadcast on Fox Sports 503 and Kayo on Saturday 2pm-5pm and Sunday midday-5pm.