Australian Open, Women's Australian Open to combine, be played simultaneously and split purses evenly
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Australian Open, Women’s Australian Open to combine, be played simultaneously and split purses evenly

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 29: during a Golf Australia Media Opportunity at Victoria Golf Club on April 29, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images for Golf Australia)

Australian professional golf has been taking steps toward gender equity -- particularly in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic -- in terms of venue access, promotion and prize money. Now the country's most important golf tournaments are combining, and the hope is to offer a brighter future for both.

Golf Australia announced Friday that the Australian Open, the fourth-oldest open championship in golf, and the Women's Australian Open will combine in 2022.

Both events will be played at the same time, on the same venues, from Dec. 1-4 in the Melbourne Sandbelt. Victoria Golf Club is the primary host venue and will welcome players for all four days of the tournaments. Kingston Heath Golf Club will jointly host for the first two days of the touranments.

The men’s event will be sanctioned by the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia and, for the first time, the DP World Tour to create a two-week swing through Australia with the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship. The women’s open will be sanctioned by the WPGA Tour of Australasia.

In another first for the Australian Open, the men’s event will also be sanctioned on the DP World Tour, putting Australian golf on the world stage for two consecutive weeks with the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship to be staged at Royal Queensland the week prior.

The Australian Open and Women's Australian Open field will both be 144 players, and they'll compete for an equal split of the minimum combined AUD$3.4 million prize money.

“This truly is a coup for Australian golf – it presents a great opportunity for the game and will take the two Open championships to another level,” said Golf Australia CEO James Sutherland.

Sutherland said other Australian golf events which feature two simultaneous events or single combined tournaments with men and women give the body confidence that this is a positive direction.“We've seen the success of the Vic Open in this format, and more recently the Webex Players Series where men and women play for the same title," said Sutherland.“We have huge aspirations for this event. This new format will provide the springboard for a wonderful celebration of golf. The move aligns with our new national strategy and our ambitions to appeal to a new audiences. In keeping with our belief that golf is a sport for everyone, the strategy demands that we present our tournaments as inclusive and fun events.”The Australian Open will also feature the third edition of the Australian All Abilities Championship, which features the top 12 players on the World Ranking for Golfers with Disability (WR4GD) from across the world.

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

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