Pioneering men's and women's Vic Open falls victim to pandemic

Golf ball (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
Golf ball (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

Australia's innovative Vic Open, the only event on the world's professional golf tours where men and women tee off in alternate groups on the same course, fell victim to the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday.

Jointly sanctioned by the men's European Tour and the US-based elite women's LPGA Tour, it was due to be played in February at a course south of Melbourne.

But difficulties around providing a safe environment for players and a lack of certainty on quarantine and border issues proved too complicated.

Its cancellation follows Australia's three biggest tournaments - the men's and women's Australian Open and the PGA Championship - all being called off last week for similar reasons.

"We're very proud of how far the Vic Open came since the mixed concept was put together, and we're more than aware of how popular this event has become," said Golf Australia chief James Sutherland.

"We've tried to make it happen, but the call had to be made."

The tournament is unique in having male and female fields sharing the same 72 holes over the four tournament days playing for equal prize money.

It has been running as a dual event since 2012 and took on added significance in 2019 when the European Tour and the LPGA Tour jointly sanctioned it for the first time, increasing the tournament's cash purse.

One of Australia's most exciting young talents, Min Woo Lee, won the men's event this year with South Korea's Park Hee-young claiming the women's title.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
42% - 10048 votes
11% - 2696 votes
19% - 4546 votes
2% - 594 votes
1% - 226 votes
2% - 553 votes
5% - 1184 votes
8% - 1996 votes
3% - 809 votes
Water sports
1% - 213 votes
American sports
1% - 298 votes
3% - 771 votes