Minister for Sport and Recreation, the Honourable Damian Drum has announced this morning that a re-elected Coalition Government will invest a further $1.4 million over four years to the Oates Vic Open starting from 2015, thanks to a $3.5 million boost to the Significant Sporting Events Program.
Liberal candidate for Bellarine Ron Nelson stated, “We know that major sporting events held in regional Victoria have a significant and positive economic impact particularly with interstate and international visitation.
“In addition, holding elite sporting events encourages people of all ages to get involved themselves.
“This is why a re-elected Coalition Government will increase funding for the Significant Sporting Events program by $3.5 million over the next four years. This is in addition to the $4.8 million already locked into the budget.
“Over the past two years, the Oates Victorian Golf Open held at Barwon Heads’ Thirteenth Beach Golf Links, has received $100,000 from the Government,” said Nelson.
With increased funding for prize money, the Oates Vic Open, currently a sanctioned event on the PGA Tour of Australasia and the ALPG Tour will be eligible for co-sanctioning with the Ladies European Tour (LET) and moves closer to other international co-sanctioning opportunities for the men’s championship.
Simon Brookhouse, Golf Victoria CEO welcomed Minister Drum’s announcement, “It’s extremely pleasing that a re-elected Coalition Government will boost funding to the Oates Vic Open which will help us further develop the Championship into a world-class event.
“Golf Victoria greatly appreciates the bi-partisan support which both political parties provide to our sport and specifically the Oates Vic Open.
“The increased funding gives us the opportunity to really accelerate the growth of this fantastic event. We’ve already seen the overwhelming response from spectators, sponsors, media and players in the first two years of the Oates Vic Open being played at Thirteenth Beach,” said Brookhouse.
Also speaking at the launch was Victorian Jarrod Lyle who continues his remarkable comeback to professional golf after battling with leukaemia. The 33 year-old started his return at the Australian Masters in November 2013, generating headlines by making the cut at Royal Melbourne. With tournament starts governed by his medical exemption from the USPGA Tour, Lyle waited until February to play the Oates Vic Open where he narrowly missed the cut by two shots.
“I’m at 100% now. I feel great. I loved my time in February playing the Oates Vic Open. It’s such a good concept to have the men and women playing alongside each other. It doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world.
“We’re lucky to have it at Thirteenth Beach, the courses are world class. Every day is different. Earlier this year it played very very tough for me.
“Unfortunately for 2015, I will be playing in the US at Torrey Pines so will miss next year’s tournament but living in Torquay, we’re privileged to have it down here till 2018,” said Lyle.
The 2015 Oates Vic Open will be played from February 5-8 at Thirteenth Beach Golf Links. For more information, click here.
For the full Coalition media release, click here.