May the Vic Open be a sign of things to come. The only event in the world that features both men and women competing for equal prize money on the same course at the same time will more than double the prize money on offer in 2019 to $3 million, the Ladies European Tour has announced.
Backed by Australia’s state government, the Vic Open purse has increased ten-fold since 2013. Winners at 13th Beach Golf Links five years ago received $22,000. Next year’s champs will take home a paycheck 10 times that amount.
“This prize money boost ensures the Vic Open remains an important pathway for local up-and-coming champions and raises its status on the world stage,” said Premier Daniel Andrews in a statement, “cementing Victoria’s reputation as a golfing powerhouse.”
The 2019 event will be staged Feb. 7-10, ahead of the Women’s Australian Open in Adelaide.
The men’s Vic Open has been around since 1957, and past champions include Gary Player, Peter Thomson and Greg Norman. The women’s event began in 1988 but after four years was put on a 20-year hiatus. Golf Victoria reintroduced the women’s Vic Open in 2012 and staged it simultaneously with the men’s event.
Minjee Lee, 22, won this year’s contest by five strokes. The four-time LPGA winner also triumphed at this event as an amateur in 2014. Lee’s younger brother, Min Woo, also competed. Tasmanian Simon Hawkes won the men’s event in a playoff against Harrison Endycott.
The success of the mixed event is evidenced in the sharp purse increase. Indeed, the men and women in Australia have risen together.
• • •
Oates Vic Open Purse Year-by-Year
2019: $1.5 million (for each field)