SOME of the world’s best golfers could be teeing up in anticipation at 13th Beach Golf Links next year, following the announcement that a combined $3 million in prizemoney will be on offer at the Vic Open.
The figure will be split equally between the male and female golfers and is more than double the $1.3 million on offer in 2018, making the 2019 event the richest golf tournament in Australia.
The Vic Open – which will be played at 13th Beach until at least 2022 – remains the only golf tournament of its kind in the world, with men and women competing for equal prize money, on the same courses at the same time.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, Sports Minister John Eren and Bellarine MP Lisa Neville visited the golf course in Barwon Heads last week to announce the state government funding towards the tournament.
The Vic Open is already part of the PGA Ladies’ European Tour, and Mr Andrews also revealed the event is in negotiations to join the Men’s European Tour as well.
“I think we’re very confident that together with the LET sanctioning, the European Tour will sanction the men’s event. We’re hopeful of that, we can’t announce that today, but it is an important step.
“In order to get that sanction, to be part of that tour in an aggregate sense, if you like – the broadcasting to an international audience, the types of players and the ability of the field you’d be able to attract – you’ve got to increase the prize money and you’ve got to lock that in for the long term, and that’s exactly what we’ve done.
“It’s a logical next step for an event that has great history and such a great home here at 13th Beach, and is really ready to take that next step.”
Golf Victoria chief executive officer Simon Brookhouse said the announcement would secure the future of a landmark tournament with global appeal in Victoria.
“It’s also great news for the players, with the Vic Open providing the top men and women from Australia and around the globe with back-to-back high prize money events in Australia.
“We’re extremely appreciative of the state government’s ongoing commitment to our great game and we’re excited to release further details about the biggest Vic Open in history soon.”