Two of Australia’s most famous tournament venues have won the rights to host the 2020 and 2022 editions of the Australian Open.
A strong field of contenders from Melbourne’s famous Sandbelt put their credentials to Golf Australia to fill the “release years” from the current eight-year contract with Sydney.
GA chief executive Stephen Pitt was grateful to all clubs for their enthusiasm in the bidding process, but was delighted to announce that Kingston Heath Golf Club would play host in 2020 and then Victoria Golf Club in 2022.
“We were extremely impressed with the level of interest in hosting our men’s national championship from so many clubs in the Sandbelt,” Pitt said.
“In Kingston Heath GC and Victoria GC, we know we have two proven venues whose reputations will certainly be a lure to the world’s best golfers, especially in the competitive global climate.
“Both clubs have given their full undertaking to help us take the national championship to the next level, so we’re delighted to return the event to such fabulous tournament venues.”
Kingston Heath GC will host its eighth Australian Open, while Victoria GC will host its fourth.
Premier Daniel Andrews was delighted the tournament would return to Victorian soil for the first time since 2005.
“I’m pleased to welcome the national championship back to the Sandbelt,” Andrews said.
“Together with the World Cup and Presidents Cup, the Australian Open is great for golf in Victoria and great for tourism.”
Kingston Heath GC captain Robert Worthington said his club was excited to welcome back the iconic tournament, the world’s fifth oldest national championship.
“We are delighted to have the Australian Open returning to Melbourne for the first time since 2002 and we look forward to welcoming the contest for the Stonehaven Cup back to Kingston Heath,” Worthington said.
“Kingston Heath has a proud history of hosting major events and we look forward to witnessing the best in the world take on our championship course.”
Victoria GC captain Tony Killen said its membership was also delighted, especially with a chance to showcase the club’s upcoming greens replacement and course design works.
“The club’s rich history of tournament golf has seen the world’s greatest including Sarazen, Palmer, Nicklaus, Player and Woods strolling the fairways and we look forward to a world-class field being challenged by the course the members love and know so well,” Killen said.
“We are especially honoured because 2022 will mark the 50^th anniversary of the final Australian Open win of VGC life member and golfing icon, the late Peter Thomson, so it will have extra significance.”
Visit Victoria chief executive Peter Bingeman said the 2020 and 2022 Australian Opens confirmed the state’s position as a premium golf destination.
“The Melbourne Sandbelt is globally recognised as a stunning collection of golf courses, with the 2020 and 2022 Australian Opens cementing Victoria as a destination for outstanding golf experiences,” Bingeman said.
“Together with the World Cup of Golf at Metropolitan this year and the 2019 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne, the two instalments of the Australian Open confirm Melbourne as a major events capital, welcoming thousands of visitors.”
The 2018 Australian Open will be played at The Lakes Golf Club in Sydney from 15-18 November.
The Australian Golf Club, also in Sydney, will host the 2019, 2021 and 2023 editions – the dates for all subsequent years are yet to be fixed.
The Australian Open is a flagship tournament on the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia.