Bumper summer of golf awaits our women

There have been two recent announcements which broadcast some big news for the 2012 ALPG Tour schedule of major events.

Both relate to Melbourne and groundbreaking news for the women’s game.

Royal Melbourne Golf Club Royal Melbourne Golf Club

The first news is that Golf Victoria have taken a big step, pioneering an initiative which will see a joint men’s and women’s Victorian Open Championship played from January 5-8, at Spring Valley Golf Club on the Melbourne sandbelt.

This will mark the first time a golf tournament will take place with two separate Championships played in conjunction, on the same golf course, offering equal purses to both men and women.

To handle logistics for the Thursday and Friday rounds, the women will play round one (of three rounds) of their Championship at Woodlands Golf Club on Friday, January 6. The men will play a full field of 156 on their opening rounds and cut to 50 and ties on Friday night.

Then 80 or so girls will join the Spring Valley field for the Saturday round (round two) and with their cut being made to 50 and ties that night, a field of around 110 will play Sunday’s final round to determine the two separate champions.

The pairings sheet for Sunday will see men’s and women’s groups alternating to allow the respective winners to be determined within the space of the final few groups.

This is a thrilling announcement and ALPG is very grateful to Golf Victoria, and to the Victorian Government who have thrown their support behind this initiative. We also look forward to working with the PGA of Australasia to deliver this unique event.

The other big news relates to the 2012 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open Championship. In recent months Golf Australia has generated headlines with announcements of star players for the men’s Australian Open.

I congratulate them on securing so many great names, certainly a tough task, but they sure have silenced the critics who felt that few or none of the US President’s Cup team would play in Sydney the week prior to the Cup.

Despite so much focus on the men’s Open, Golf Australia has in recent weeks managed to secure the number one Australian venue, for the 2012 Women’s Australian Open.

We are very proud of the announcement that Royal Melbourne will host our National Championship and in saying that, we are also very grateful that RM has agreed to do so less than 10 weeks after hosting the President’s Cup. No major women’s professional golf tournament has been staged at Australia’s number one rated golf course.

Word of this venue announcement has already spread among players on the world Tours, and I have in recent weeks spoken to a number of leading international players who have committed to the Royal Melbourne experience, prior to the commencement of the LPGA Tour in February, 2012.

Stay tuned for player announcements, it’s going to be big!