The ISPS Handa Vic Open returns to 13th Beach this week and there is no doubt that the European Tour/LPGA Tour co-sanctioned event is back as one of Australia’s best golf tournaments.
We’ve become accustomed to thinking that Australia’s big golf tournaments are now just two or three big golf tournaments including our national Open, and the Australian PGA Championship. But it wasn’t always the case.
The Australian golf tour used to attract big international names and decent prize purses to what were prestigious tournaments across the country, particularly in the 1970s, 80s and 90s. At the very least these state open championships used to regularly attract Australia’s best golfers with Greg Norman, Ian Baker-Finch, Graham Marsh, Robert Allenby, Rodger Davis, Craig Parry and David Graham regularly holding the winner’s trophy.
While many events have disappeared from the calendar such as the South Australian Open and the Heineken Classic, the Vic Open has managed to return to prominence with prize-money increasing 10-fold in the last six years and is now co-sanctioned by two of the world’s big professional golf tours.
There is no doubt the ISPS Handa Vic Open is once again one of Australia’s best golf tournaments and one of the most unique anywhere in the world that is capturing the attention of the golf world and luring big-name players to Australian shores.
For starters, 13th Beach Golf Links at Barwon Heads on Victoria’s Bellarine Peninsula is a great place to hold a golf tournament that feature two superb golf courses; the Tony Cashmore designed Beach Course, and the Nick Faldo designed Creek Courses.
Both are regularly listed in Australia’s best 100 golf courses and must feature on the (yet to be written) list of the top-10 places to go on a golf trip in Australia. If you’ve never been down to play, check out the action on TV this week and then ring your mates, book in a weekend to go and play.
The tournament is also now co-sanctioned by the European Tour, the LPGA Tour and of course ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australia and ALPG Tour which sees both men and women playing in the same tournament. The final round on Sunday will see men and women playing in alternate groups for their respective Vic Open trophies.
As the Vic Open has garnered more attention, it has attracted bigger sponsors and a bigger prize pool.
Prize-money at has increased from $300k to $3million in the past six years making it the biggest prize purse on offer in Australian golf with both men and women are playing for the same prize money.
And not surprisingly the field has gotten better and better. This year the tournament includes Geoff Ogilvy, Minjee Lee, Beef Johnston, Karrie Webb, Lucas Herbert, Ryo Ishikawa and Georgia Hall.
With 312 golfers teeing it up at 13th Beach this week, this is great value for money for spectators with plenty of golf fans watching all around thew world as the 2019 ISPS Handa Vic Open will reach 162 countries and more than 750 million households through Golf Channel and Sky Sports in Asia, Europe and North and South America.
If you’re anywhere down near the Bellarine Peninsula grab yourself a Vic Open ticket and get along.
Or watch on ABC TV and FoxSports with coverage starting at 3pm on Thursday and Friday. Weekend coverage starts at 1pm on Saturday and Sunday (12pm on FoxSports).