Date: December 17, 2012
Author: Stephen Pitt

From the CEO’s desk: December 2012

The festive season is approaching but we’ve got our own major golf celebrations to take care of first in December. The festivities begin with the Emirates Australian Open at The Lakes from 6-9 December.

This year’s Open – live across all four days on Channel 7, brings together the best elements of what the Open is known for: world stars, past champions and precocious youth.

Ryder Cup hero and World Number 5 Justin Rose and Australia’s World Number 6 Adam Scott headline the field together with fan favourite and eight-time Major winner Tom Watson, defending champion Greg Chalmers and Geoff Ogilvy, Marc Leishman, Kyle Stanley and Matt Goggin to name just a few.

Taking on the seasoned pros are two young rising stars on the international stage.

Chinese pair Guan Tianlang and Andy Zhang will arrive at The Lakes GC having made headlines earlier in the year around the world. Both 14 years old, Tianlang will become the youngest player to compete at the US Masters at Augusta next April after winning the Asia Pacific Amateur in November. In June, Zhang became the youngest player to compete at the U.S Open since World War 2 and although he missed the cut, he showed he has the game to be a world class player for a long time.

It seems extraordinary to think Tom Watson’s Australian Open win came many years before either of them was born.

We’re all looking forward to what will be another exciting week at The Lakes GC as another chapter of this historic championship unfolds and we crown a new Emirates Australian Open champion. We’re expecting strong crowds again, but if you can’t be there, see all of the action on Channel 7’s telecast.

The week following the Open, the attention shifts to Queensland for the 2012 Australian PGA Championship presented by Coca-Cola in what will cap two great weeks of world-class golf on Australian soil.

It’s been another productive year for Australian golf and there has been some significant achievements over the past 12 months. The National Course-Rating program was completed ahead of schedule by the State Associations and good progress has been made on the new GA Handicap System which will be fully implemented during 2013.

Our National Junior Program, MYGolf, welcomed its 4000th participant – a fantastic achievement as more and more kids get their first taste of golf whether it be through local clinics or games during physical education classes at school. It has also been a very successful year for our up and coming stars, with our elite amateurs having their best year for quite a while.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the Australian golf industry in 2012. Our challenge as a collective is to continually share the game of golf with others and to bring new people into the game and we’ve got plenty more work to do in 2013.

On behalf of all of us at Golf Australia, we wish you and your family and friends a Merry Christmas and a safe and healthy start to 2013.