The ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open will be played in Adelaide in 2016 and beyond.
Golf Australia chief executive officer Stephen Pitt, in conjunction with South Australian Minister for Recreation and Sport and Minister for Tourism, Leon Bignell, announced the historic move today 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.”
The Championship first played in 1974 has been hosted in South Australia once before in 1994 when played at Royal Adelaide Golf Club.
The 72-hole championship that year was won by Sweden’s Annika Sorenstam, her first tournament win as a professional and heralded the beginning of a stellar career. The event also was notable for Karrie Webb who made her debut as a professional.
The event has been staged 24 times over the past 42 years and has been held in Victoria for seven of the past eight years.
The Women’s Australian Open is tri-sanctioned by the LPGA Tour, LET and ALPG, ensuring that it is one of very few truly global golf events staged in Oceania annually.
There have only been three Australian winners of the National title; Karrie Webb (five times), Jan Stephenson and South Australia’s own Jane Crafter who claimed the title in 1997 at Yarra Yarra Golf Club.
Crafter now residing in the US, was extremely thrilled the Women’s Open will be played in her home state.
“I am very excited and proud that Golf Australia has announced that the Women's Australian Open will be played in Adelaide in February 2016!” Crafter said
“Having been raised in Adelaide and represented South Australia so many times as an amateur, I know it will be a wonderful opportunity for our young women golfers to see and learn from the world's best right here at home. Also it is fantastic to be able to showcase our great city and all it has to offer! Great decision Golf Australia and I look forward to being a part of our prestigious national championship that means so much to me as its 1997 past champion!”
South Australia last hosted a major Golf Championship in 2007 when the SA Men’s Open was last held.
There are over 25,000 Golf Club members in South Australian and many more social golfers who will now have the opportunity to see the world’s best in action.
“Golf SA is delighted that South Australia is to host the Australian Women’s Open for the next three years. It provides a significant opportunity to showcase professional golf – in particular women’s golf at the highest level.” said Golf SA CEO, Chris Luz Raymond
“We thank Events SA and the three host clubs, The Grange, Royal Adelaide & Kooyonga for their commitment and support to bringing this prestigious event to South Australia.”
“Golf SA is determined to use the momentum of the Australian Women’s Open over the next three years to take the game of golf to women in the 20-40 age group and to re-establish a professional golf event in this State.” Luz Raymond added.
The event will also provide the perfect opportunity for juniors to witness golf at the highest level and provide the platform for an increase in participation through the national junior MyGolf program.
“This event is a great opportunity for all South Australian golfers, in particular junior girls to witness world standard tour golf, in their own backyard and it will hopefully inspire them to take their own game to the next level. Having the world’s best female golfers in Adelaide will inspire the next generation and help grow participation in the game.” Jamie Clutterham Golf SA Women’s State Coach
More news and event info, including ticketing can be found at the Womens Australian Open website