The ISPS Handa Australian Open is returning to Sydney with The Australian and The Lakes golf clubs set to host the prestigious tournament from Thursday, November 30 to Sunday, December 3.
The 2023 event will feature the continuation of the joint tournament format that will allow fans to see some of the best men and women golfers playing for different titles on the same course at the same time.
In addition to the Men’s Australian Open and the Women’s Australian Open titles, the event will celebrate further inclusiveness through the Australian All Abilities Championship.
DP World Tour and PGA Tour winner Lucas Herbert and LPGA Tour star Stephanie Kyriacou are the first two players who have confirmed their appearance in Sydney this season.
Victorian Herbert, 27, has won three times on the DP World Tour, including in Japan this year, augmenting his PGA Tour triumph in the Bermuda Championship in 2021. He finished 10th at the 2022 Australian Open in Melbourne.
Sydney’s Kyriacou, 22, was rookie of the year on the Ladies European Tour in 2021 before graduating to the world’s top women’s tour, the LPGA in 2022 where she held her playing rights for 2023.
The men’s Open returns to The Australian for the first time since 2019, while the women’s Open homecoming to Sydney is 16 years in the making, with Royal Sydney Golf Club hosting the last event in the New South Wales capital when Karrie Webb was victorious.
The Australian Golf Club will be the host venue across the four days with nearby The Lakes Golf Club selected as co-host for the first two days of play.
The Australian is a Jack Nicklaus signature design and is well versed with the national men’s Open having hosted 21 times, including recent years in 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2019. Equally, The Lakes is a seven-time host of the men’s Australian Open, including 1964, 1980, 1992, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2018.
The dual Australian Opens will carry a minimum of $3.4 million prizemoney.
The men’s event will be co-sanctioned by the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia and DP World Tour, ensuring Australian golf is on the world stage for two consecutive weeks of the summer with the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship staged at Royal Queensland the week prior.
The WPGA Tour of Australasia will again sanction the women’s event with the Patricia Bridges Bowl going to the winner, while the men will play for the Stonehaven Cup.
This year’s Australian Open will also feature the fourth edition of the Australian All Abilities Championship (AAAC), which assembles the top World Ranking for Golfers with Disability (WR4GD) players supported by global partners EDGA and G4D Tour.
Golf Australia’s chief executive officer James Sutherland is elated to see a return to Sydney in 2023 and noted the resoundingly positive impact the mixed format event has had.
“We’re incredibly excited to return to Sydney for this national event, and thankful to our partner, the NSW Government, for their long-standing support for the sport and the ISPS Handa Australian Open,” Sutherland said.
“With fantastic golf facilities and a city that features some of Australia’s most well-known icons and tourist destinations, we will enthusiastically welcome golf fans and event goers to this unique event in Sydney.
“After such positive feedback last year, we’re pleased to be able to bring the tournament to Sydney and know that the mixed format of men’s, women’s and all-abilities in one tournament will be appreciated by fans from far and wide.
“Last year the world-first national open format pushed boundaries and broke new ground for golf – the event will be further enhanced this year and will again talk to our commitment to growing golf as a sport for all.”
Ben Cowen, DP World Tour chief tournament business officer, said: “We are delighted to see the ISPS Handa Australian Open return to Sydney in an exciting format which gives fans the chance to witness some of the best men, women and All Abilities golfers tee it up on iconic Australian golf courses.
“Showcasing the men’s Australian Open and women’s Australian Open presents a fantastic opportunity for both memberships to compete on the global stage and our thanks go to Golf Australia, the NSW Government, the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia and the WPGA Tour of Australasia. We are thrilled to start the 2024 DP World Season with back-to-back weeks in Australia with the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship held in Brisbane the week prior and we look forward to another memorable edition of this famous national Open,” Cowan added.
After a review of last year’s tournaments in Melbourne, and after consultation with both the men’s and women’s tour bodies and playing groups, the 2023 edition will have some format changes.
The men’s field will consist of 156 players, with 84 in the women’s field. Only one cut will be made, after 36 holes, reducing the field to the top 60 professionals plus ties in the men’s Open, and a pro-rata top 32 professionals plus ties in the women’s Open.
All professionals who make the cut will receive prizemoney, with both the male and female professionals earning the equivalent figure per finishing position.
In another change to the tournament schedule, the finale of the 54-hole Australian All Abilities Championship will start a day earlier with the final round and the champion player to be showcased on Saturday afternoon.
WPGA Tour of Australasia chief executive officer Karen Lunn said the return of the women’s Open to Sydney for the first time since 2007 was exciting for the women’s game.
“Our best women professionals and amateurs will love being back in Sydney and enjoy the challenge of playing on two very different courses both with a great history of hosting Australia’s most prestigious events,” Lunn said.
“The change we have made to reduce the size of the field for this year’s women’s Open will ensure we have a high quality competition that reflects the importance of the national championship and guarantees the maximum world ranking points will be available for our players to further their careers.
“The size of the women’s Open field will be reassessed year by year. Our aim is to grow the depth in the women’s game, bringing through new talent thanks to the development programs and systems we now have in place across the country and the inspiration provided by the achievements we see on the world stage from the likes of our recent major winners Minjee Lee and Hannah Green.”
PGA Tour of Australasia tournaments director Nick Dastey said: “The Australian and The Lakes will provide a wonderful test for our Australian Open field.
“They are two courses steeped in history that have produced some great champions over the years and although nearby location-wise, they offer different challenges to conquer.
“The Australian Open is a very sought after title and we can expect great players from both the PGATA and DPWT fighting it out in Sydney at the end of November in the hope of etching their name alongside some of the biggest names in the history of golf.”
The Australian Open will again be broadcast on Foxtel, Kayo, Nine and 9Now.