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For the first time in golf’s history, men and women will tee it up together as the Men’s and Women’s Australian Opens head to the world-famous Melbourne Sandbelt from December 1-4.
Never before have recognised male and female national Opens been held at the same time and at the same venue, so this represents a world-first for golf, with an equal share of the $3.4 million prize pot also on offer for the fields made up of 144 men and 144 women.
Victoria Golf Club will be the primary host venue across the four tournament days, with Kingston Heath Golf Club to host play on the first two days.
The men’s event will headline the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia and, in another first for the Australian Open, will also be sanctioned on the DP World Tour. The women’s event will be sanctioned by the WPGA Tour of Australasia.
Golf Australia’s Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland said the new format is a significant strategic move that will hopefully “provide the springboard” for golf in Australia.
“This truly is a coup for Australian golf – it presents a great opportunity for the game and will take the two Open championships to another level,” Sutherland said. “We've seen the success of the Vic Open in this format, and more recently the Webex Players Series where men and women play for the same title.
“Victoria’s renowned Melbourne Sandbelt is once again going to host a world-class golf tournament, and we are delighted to be partnering with the DP World Tour in the co-sanctioning and broadcast through its vast global network.
“The men are still playing for their own Australian Open title for the Stonehaven Cup, and the women for the Patricia Bridges Bowl. Both trophies have been won by some of the best golfers to play the game.
“We have huge aspirations for this event. This new format will provide the springboard for a wonderful celebration of golf.”
Another highlight of the Australian Open will be the third edition of the Australian All Abilities Championship, which assembles the top 12 players on the World Ranking for Golfers with Disability (WR4GD) from across the world supported by global partners EDGA, the International Golf Federation and newly formed G4D Tour.
“The Australian Open has been a world leader in this space,” Sutherland added. “We are committed to staging and promoting the All Abilities Championships and look forward to seeing others follow our lead by providing more high profile pathway opportunities internationally.”
This will be the first time the Men's Australian Open has been played in Melbourne since 2002. The last time the area hosted a major golf event was the 2019 Presidents Cup, when Royal Melbourne's composite course dazzled players and fans alike. Such was the success, it was recently announced the Presidents Cup would be returning to Melbourne in 2028 and 2040.
The Women’s Australian Open returns to Melbourne for the first time since 2016 after five successful events in Adelaide. Both tournaments are resuming after Covid-19 enforced cancellations in 2021, while the Men’s Australian Open was also not played in 2020 due to the pandemic.
The Men’s Australian Open is one of the oldest golf tournaments in the world, dating back to 1904, and has been won by golf immortals such as Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Peter Thomson, Greg Norman, Tom Watson, Bobby Locke, and Gene Sarazen, as well as modern superstars Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott.
Three different World No. 1 players have won the last three Women's Australian Opens – Jin Young Ko, Nelly Korda and Inbee Park – which was first played in 1974 and has established itself as a world-class event in Adelaide over recent years.
A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform producing football reports, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1. However, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing and now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.
Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.
As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.
What's in Andy's bag?
Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)
3-wood: TaylorMade M1 (15°)
Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)
Irons: Callaway Apex Pro '19 (4-PW)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)
Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2.5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1
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