The 2021 Men’s Australian Open and the 2022 Women’s Australian Open have been cancelled as the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting travel restrictions continue to play havoc with international golf in Australia and around the world.
Golf Australia announced the decision today, saying that it would begin planning for a return of the two Opens in the 2022-23 summer of golf.
This year’s edition of the men’s tournament won by the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Peter Thomson and Greg Norman was first scheduled for 25-28 November at The Australian Golf Club in Sydney, then postponed until early in 2022.
The Women’s Australian Open was set for Kooyonga Golf Club in Adelaide in February, 2022.
“The decision has not been made lightly but we believe it to be the right outcome under the current circumstances,” said James Sutherland, the Golf Australia Chief Executive.
“The international element means shifting quarantine and travel restrictions wreak havoc on planning and, with our marquee players living abroad, the challenge is even greater.
“The pressure and risk on host venues and organisers is also high – these are small businesses who have already faced huge disruption due to the pandemic.”
Golf Australia’s General Manager Events and Operations, Therese Magdulski, said it became increasingly apparent as the tournament dates loomed that it would not be possible to run them because of the restrictions in place.
Magdulski added that public health concerns and continued uncertainty over travel also played their part as the virus continues to flare around Australia.
“When we decided back in June that we’d try to get these tournaments to run again, we weren’t even dealing with the Delta variant,” she said.
“Everything’s changed since then, and it can change again. In the end these are incredibly hard decisions and it’s terribly disappointing for everyone in the industry, but we’ve tried hard to make it happen, and it has not come together as we’d like.
“These are marquee events on the golf calendar, and we want to make sure when we bring them to life, they are the best they can be for all involved.”
Magdulski said Golf Australia still intended to run the men’s and women’s Vic Open at 13th Beach on the Bellarine Peninsula from 10-13 February, albeit without international tour sanctioning. “We still have some big hoops to jump through to get the Vic Open up, but it’s our intention to push ahead,” she said.
The 2022 Men’s Australian Open will be at Victoria Golf Club in Melbourne in November-December, before returning to The Australian in 2023. “We’re thankful to The Australian, which continues to be a loyal supporter of our men’s event,” said Magdulski. “We are also grateful for the support of Kooyonga Golf Club in our preparations to date for the women’s event.”
The Australian PGA Championship headlines the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia schedule, to be played at Royal Queensland from 13-16 January. The schedule includes not only the PGA Championship but three Webex Players Series events and a range of State PGA Championships and State Opens.
Sutherland said Golf Australia, the PGA of Australia and the WPGA Tour are working closely together and remain optimistic about the future of the tournaments as the world opens up.
“While it’s disappointing to lose these tournaments for the second year in a row, we’ll continue to work together to deliver an exciting schedule of local tournaments across the summer,” said Sutherland.