The Victorian Government has dealt NSW a blow, taking the Emirates Australian Open from Sydney to the Sandbelt in 2020 and 2022. It will also be looking to secure long-term rights after 2023.

By Joe McDonough

Posted on October 9, 2017

Australia’s most prestigious golf tournament, the Australian Open, will be played in Melbourne in 2020 and 2022, despite NSW holding the rights until 2023.

The two ‘release years’ will be the first time the Open has been played in Victoria since Robert Allenby won at Moonah Links in 2005.

The move signals Golf Australia and the Victorian Government’s intention to promote Melbourne’s famed sandbelt courses to the world. It comes after last week’s announcement that the biannual Presidents Cup tournament, played between the US and Internationals, would be taken to Royal Melbourne Golf Club in 2019.

Once regarded unofficially as golf’s ‘fifth major’, the Open has been won by some of the game’s greatest ever players. Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer, Jordan Speith and Rory McIlroy have all held aloft the Stonehaven Cup, and it consistently attracts big-name drawcards.

More than 300,000 Victorians play golf at more than 350 courses and the government estimates the sport supports 6,900 jobs and contributes $849 million to the state’s economy. The state’s iconic tournament, the Australian Masters, has not been played since 2015. So, the Victorian government will no doubt be looking to secure the long-term rights once the current deal with NSW wraps up in 2023.

Victorian Minister for Tourism and Major Events, John Eren, expects to see a hoard of international golf fans converge on Melbourne for the events, as well as huge television ratings.

“Victorian golf fans have a lot to look forward to as we bring the Emirates Australian Open back to Melbourne after 15 years,” Eren said.

“Thousands of travellers will be making their way to Victoria to see the world’s best in action and we’ll be showcasing what we do best to millions more on television.”

Golf Australia chief executive Stephen Pitt said: “We’re excited to see the national championship return to Melbourne in 2020 and 2022 and we know that the golf clubs and golfers of Victoria will be delighted to have the Emirates Australian Open played on Victorian soil again… These tournaments will be played on two of our country’s greatest courses and we are expecting them to be wonderful events.”

This year’s Emirates Australian Open will be played at The Australian Golf Club in Sydney from November 23.