THE future of Australia’s premier senior golf tournament, the Handa Australian Senior Open, continues to strengthen with the announcement to co-sanction the event with the European Senior Tour.
The three year co-sanctioning of the Handa Australian Senior Open will see a $100,000 increase in the prize money to AUD$400,000 and the inclusion of the leading 30 players from the European Senior Tour.
It will be the opening tournament on the 2011 European Senior Tour schedule and will be followed by the Handa Cup Senior Masters in Japan the following week.
To be held at Royal Perth Golf Club from 19-21 November 2010, the Handa Australian Senior Open will see the likes of Ian Woosnam, Sandy Lyle and Sam Torrance compete for the prestigious title.
The tournament will also be a significant occasion for Australian golf icon Ian Baker-Finch, who will make his debut on home soil as a Senior golfer at the event.
He will be joined in the field by defending Champion Mike Harwood and fellow countrymen Peter Senior, Wayne Grady and David Merriman.
Chairman of the International Sports Promotion Society and long-term golf supporter Dr Haruhisa Handa said he was pleased the European Senior Tour have agreed to co-sanction the event and pledged his continued support to the tournament he resurrected back in 2007.
“I am so proud of the growth of the Handa Australian Senior Open over the past 3 years and to now have the event feature in conjunction with the European Senior Tour is a big step forward for Senior Golf in Australia,” said Dr Handa.
ISPS is a leading sponsor of a number of European Senior Tour events. Andy Stubbs, Managing Director of the European Senior Tour, said: “The European Senior Tour is delighted to be invited for the first time to co-sanction the Handa Australian Senior Open with the PGA of Australia and for this tournament to be the first to count towards the 2011 European Senior Tour Order of Merit.
“Over the years, we have had numerous legendary Australian players participate on our Tour and this opportunity will allow for them to showcase their talents on home soil and to be joined by our legends such as Sandy Lyle, Sam Torrance and Ian Woosnam.
Stephen Pitt, CEO of Golf Australia also confirmed their enthusiasm at the continued growth of the event. “The Handa Australian Senior Open is the biggest tournament on the EZ-GO PGA Legends Tour and to see it co-sanctioned with the European Senior Tour is a fantastic achievement”, said Pitt.
Simon Butterly, General Manager of the Tournament Division of the PGA of Australia added, “The Handa Australian Senior Open provides a fantastic opportunity for our members to play an internationally recognised tournament, for an impressive prize pool on their home soil.”
“This move to co-sanction the tournament with the European Senior Tour is indicative of the growth of the EZ-GO PGA Legends Tour in recent years, and I hope that Australian senior golf continues to develop in years to come.”
Household names including Rodger Davis, Bob Shearer, Michael Clayton and Peter Fowler are anticipated to play at the prestigious Royal Perth Golf Club from 19-21 November 2010.