TIME TO HIT THE OPEN ROAD?
THERE have been mixed reactions since Golf Australia and the Victorian Government announced the Emirates Australian Open will be returning to Melbourne in 2020 and 2022.
Social media banter appeared to be split on the announcement. While most golf fans can see the benefits of a travelling tournament, some Sydneysiders would prefer to keep our national championship to themselves.
So as a Melburnian, I feel somewhat obliged to say something along the lines of: Build another bridge and get over it. But they actually have a point … Or at least inspire some.
The current eight-year contract between Golf Australia and Lagardère Sports allows for two “release years” to play the Australian Open outside of Sydney. So the event was destined to leave the Harbour City either way. But Melbourne already has the 2019 Presidents Cup approaching. Not to mention the Australian Grand Prix, AFL Grand Final and our national tennis Open – which it has hosted since 1972. Does it really need this, too? Golf Australia magazine understands the 2020 Australian Open will be played at one of the tried and tested Sandbelt courses, while the 2022 instalment could be hosted by a club that is new to the tournament caper. Should this prove to be the case, Peninsula Kingswood Country Golf Club looms as a likely candidate.
The merger club has been a hive of activity in recent times with OCCM (Ogilvy, Clayton, Cocking and Mead) overseeing some stunning major redesign work.
Like most, I’m all for showcasing new courses and clubs but it seems Golf Australia may have missed an opportunity to share what’s on offer outside our two busiest cities.
Financial issues aside, why wasn’t at least 2020 promised to a place like Adelaide? The City of Churches has already provided two great tournaments as the current home to the women’s edition of the Open.
Our national championship has ventured outside of NSW and Victoria twice in 42 years. I for one hope this changes sooner rather than later.