The new look Australian Open has received two exceptional outcomes with the commitment of ISPS HANDA as naming rights partner for the next three years and major champion Hannah Green committing to the historic mixed-gender Australian Open in Melbourne this year.
This will be the first time in the world that a national golf Open will include both a men’s and women’s tournament, plus the inspirational competitors in the Australian All Abilities Championship – effectively three tournaments in one.
Dr Haruhisa Handa has been a significant backer of disability golf for more than 30 years. Dr Handa founded ISPS HANDA in 2006 and the organisation has continued this important work with golf both in Australia and around the world, including as the naming rights sponsor of the Women’s Australian Open.
The Handa organization also backs professional tournaments and individual players, and also is a key supporter of blind and disabled golf around the world, being a strong advocate for the inclusion of golf in the Paralympics.
“ISPS Handa has been a long-term partner with Golf Australia having been the naming rights partner of the Women’s Australian Open since 2010 and the inaugural Australian All Abilities Championship in 2019 and again 2020, so we’re very pleased to continue this relationship,” Dr Handa said.
“ISPS HANDA has done an enormous amount in partnership with integrated men’s and women’s events featuring equal prizemoney, including the ISPS HANDA Vic Open and the ISPS HANDA World Invitational which is being held in Ireland this week.
“One of the reasons we are excited about this partnership is that it is held in the Japanese winter, after the tournament season has finished. We are hopeful some Japanese players will take part in this historic event, bringing our two nations even closer together.”
At today’s announcement, ISPS Patron Sir John Key said that ISPS HANDA was delighted to see the All Abilities Championship receiving such prominence.
“ISPS HANDA is enormously proud of the work it has done in disability golf around the world for over three decades, as evidenced by Dr Handa’s position of Ambassador for the European Tour Disability Program. ISPS HANDA has an explicit aim of assisting golf to be included in the Paralympic Games, and this event is very important in that regard,” Key said.
25 year old Green, who is also an ISPS HANDA ambassador, has had a strong year on the LPGA Tour, logging six top-10 finishes including a top-five at the most recent major, the Women’s PGA Championship in Maryland last month.
“When I heard that the men’s and women’s Opens were coming together for the first time, I knew that I wanted to be there,” said World No.18 Green, who is one of just four Australian women to have ever secured a major championship on the women’s circuit as the 2019 Women’s PGA Championship winner.
“We’ve experienced this kind of concept, with men and women playing together on the same courses at the same time, at the Vic Open and the Webex Players Series events, and to have it in place for the first time at a national Open is going to be something special.
“As an ambassador for ISPS HANDA which has done so much work in the All Abilities space, I love the idea of sharing courses with that field in their own national championship. They are incredible athletes and tremendously inspirational.”
This will be the third edition of the Australian All Abilities Championship, which assembles the top 12 players on the World Ranking for Golfers with Disability (WR4GD) from across the world supported by global partners EDGA, the International Golf Federation and newly formed G4D Tour.
Golf Australia CEO James Sutherland thanked ISPS HANDA for the key role their support played in bringing to life the history-making format of the 2022 ISPS HANDA Australian Open.
“For a long time now, ISPS HANDA has been a highly valued partner of Australian golf and a great supporter of our tournaments,” Sutherland said.
“This new format for the Australian Open – bringing the men and women together with the All Abilities Championship – is a world first. ISPS HANDA have really stepped up here, and without their support it would be very difficult for us to put on an event at the scale at which we are planning. We are very grateful for their investment and their strong alignment to our vision of growing golf as a sport for all.
“We are very excited about our plans for the ISPS Handa Australian Open and there is so much for golf fans to look forward to. Hannah’s signing on is great news – and we anticipate more announcements in the coming weeks as our impressive men’s and women’s fields continue to take shape.”
WPGA Tour of Australasia CEO Karen Lunn emphasised the excitement of bringing our talented young golfers home for the summer of golf.
“Hannah Green is an icon of Australian golf even at her relatively young age, and we’re delighted to know that she is coming home to play the Australian Open,” Lunn said. “We think that this historic, inclusive event will be something special and Hannah as a world-class player is only going to add weight to it. We’ll welcome her with open arms and we know that she’ll have plenty of fans supporting her at Victoria and Kingston Heath.”
The ISPS HANDA Australian Open is returning from a two-year hiatus after the men’s tournament was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic and associated travel restrictions. For the first time, the men’s championship will be co-sanctioned by the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia and the DP World Tour. The women’s event, last played in Adelaide in 2020, also was impacted by the pandemic and travel restrictions and returns for the first time on the same stage as the men’s Open.
The men’s and women’s tournaments will be played at the same time and the same venues but as separate championships, along with the Australian All Abilities Championship.
All four days will be played at Victoria Golf Club, with the first two days to also be split across Victoria and Kingston Heath. Prizemoney for the men’s and women’s Opens is equal at $1.7 million AUD for each event.
The Australian Open is proudly supported by the Victorian Government through Visit Victoria.Premium experiences and tickets to the ISPS HANDA Australian Open are available on ticketek now.