Welcome to GOLFMATE’s blog! In our first article, we would like to give a brief introduction to the key events of golf Australia. If you want to gain a basic understanding of the top major tournaments in Australia, this article is for you.
The Australian Open
The Australian Open, owned and operated by Golf Australia, is the oldest and most respected golf tournament on the PGA Tour of Australasia. The Open was established and first played in 1904 and has since been held annually. It was suspended only twice in the history between 1914-19 and between 1940-45 due to World War I and II. The winner receives the Stonehaven Cup which was first presented in 1930. Although it does not have the highest prize money compared to tournaments on the PGA Tour, the Australian Open is considered the “flagship tournament” of the PGA Tour of Australasia, which has a special status in the Official World Golf Ranking’s points system.
The Australian PGA Championship
Being the home tournament of PGA of Australia and the oldest professional golf tournament on the PGA Tour of Australasia, the Australian PGA Championship has a glorious tournament history which dates back to 1905, created following the Australian Open. It has been co-sanctioned by the European Tour starting in 2015. The winner receives the Joe Kirkwood Cup, which is the oldest trophy in Australian Professional Golf.
The Australian Masters
The Australian Masters was a PGA Tour of Australasia tournament held annually from 1979 to 2015. Since it was first played at Huntingdale in 1979, the presentation of the gold jacket to the champion of the Australian Masters has become a famous tradition in Australian golf. This event has been dominated by home golfers: the former world No. 1 Greg Norman had the most success in the tournament’s history by winning six gold jackets from 1981 to 1990; it has also given several Australian golfers the chance to launch themselves onto the international stage after breakthrough victories at Huntingdale. Unfortunately, the Australian Masters has ceased since 2016 and there is no return in sight at this stage.
New Zealand Open
The New Zealand Open is the premier men’s golf tournament in New Zealand, an iconic event dating back to 1907. It is a golf tournament on the PGA Tour of Australasia, and was co-sanctioned for the first time with the European Tour in 2005, which made this the European Tour’s first ever visit to New Zealand.
ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open
The Women’s Australian Open is a women’s professional golf tournament played in Australia, which was first held in 1974. It is run by Golf Australia and the ALPG Tour, and was co-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour (LET) since 2000. Beginning with the 2012 event, it is also co-sanctioned by the U.S.-based LPGA Tour. Starting in 2011, the name of this tournament has been the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.
ISPS Handa Vic Open
ISPS Handa Vic Open is a golf tournament held annually in Australia which includes two events: the Men’s Victorian Open and the Women’s Victorian Open are held concurrently with equal prize pool offered. The men and women play on the same course at the same time in alternating groups. The Men’s Victorian Open was founded in 1957, which is operated by Golf Victoria and is a Golf Australia national ranking event. The Women’s Victorian Open was founded in 1988 and was played annually through 1992. After a 20-year hiatus, it returned in 2012 as a tournament on the ALPG Tour, and has been held concurrently with the Men’s Victorian Open since then, which made ISPS Handa Vic Open the only professional golf tournament in the world where men and women played the same courses, at the same time, for equal prize money.
Isn’t it amazing that the oldest golf tournament in Australia dates back to 116 years ago? Popular with Aussies across over the last century, this game is steeped in the history and drama of Australia. Now do you have a better understanding of the major golf events in Australia? If you are interested in reading more about golf Australia, stay tuned to GOLFMATE’s blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!