The ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open will be played in Adelaide in 2016 and beyond.
Golf Australia CEO Stephen Pitt, in conjunction with South Australian Minister for Recreation and Sport and Minister for Tourism, Leon Bignell, announced the historic move at next year’s host venue, The Grange Golf Club.
Midori Miyazaki, executive director for international affairs for the tournament’s naming rights sponsor ISPS Handa, also confirmed a seventh successive year as the event’s major partner.
Mr Pitt said The Grange’s West Course would host the LPGA Tour co-sanctioned event from February 18-21 next year.
He also confirmed Royal Adelaide would host the 2017 championship to help celebrate the club’s 125th anniversary, with nearby Kooyonga the 2018 venue with an option for further tournaments in South Australia after that time.
“We are incredibly excited to bring such a high-profile international event as the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open to Adelaide,” Mr Pitt said.
“The South Australian Government, Golf South Australia and the clubs involved have all shown huge interest in bringing the event to Adelaide.
“And with the city not having hosted an elite level golf tournament for a few years, we are thrilled to engage with the entire community here in bringing the world’s best players back to the people of South Australia.”
Mr Bignell said the championship would put Adelaide firmly in the global spotlight.
“Hosting the Open means we can showcase the state’s premier golf courses, as well as highlight our spectacular tourism assets,” he said.
“This is huge news for golf fans and for our visitor economy. The 2016 event alone will deliver an estimated $3.7 million to our visitor economy and will have massive flow-on effect for hotels, taxis, hospitality and small businesses.
“We will also have international media exposure estimated to be worth more than $4.4 million.”
Founder and chairman Dr Haruhisa Handa was delighted to confirm ISPS’s ongoing support for the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.
“ISPS is a strong believer in the power of sport – it has a unique ability to create hope, inspire people and change society for the better,” Dr Handa said.
“After supporting many events and initiatives across Australia, I believe Adelaide is the perfect place for the Open and I am so excited about creating new relationships.”
The ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open will again attract the best field in Australia this summer by world rankings with its full status on the LPGA Tour and prizemoney of US$1.3million.
LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said his players were thrilled to lock in Adelaide as their destination for the first tournament of its 2016 Asia-Pacific swing.
“It has been fantastic to watch this event grow in Australia since we joined in partnership with Golf Australia in 2012,” Mr Whan said.
“The LPGA Tour is now played in 15 countries around the world and features players from 30 countries in every point of the globe and Australia will continue to be a very important stop for us.
“The LPGA players love heading ‘Down Under’ and Adelaide’s wonderful courses will no doubt be great tests for the world’s best players.”
Australian Ladies Professional Golf executive director Karen Lunn said the domestic tour was delighted to have the Open back in Adelaide after a 22-year absence.
“It’s fantastic news that Dr Handa has shown continuing support of the event, along with the South Australian Government,” Miss Lunn said.
“It’s also great for women’s golf in South Australia – which has great past champs including Jane Crafter – to have the world’s best players in their back yard to help inspire the next generation of stars.”
The first formal player announcements are expected soon, and tickets will go on sale through Ticketek in December.
The tournament is a tri-sanctioned event between the LPGA, LET and ALPG tours.