25 Aug 2022

Media Release:

The 150th Open champion Cameron Smith is coming home to his adoring fans this summer, and he will be joined at Victoria and Kingston Heath Golf Clubs by AIG Women’s Open champion Ashleigh Buhai for the ISPS HANDA Australian Open from December 1-4.

World No. 2 Smith is enjoying a career-best year having won the PGA Tour’s Sentry Tournament of Champions in January and THE PLAYERS Championship in March before his major breakthrough at St Andrews last month.

“I’ve had an unbelievable year and to be coming home to play tournaments is the icing on the cake,” Smith said.

“I’m so excited to see friends and family again. Some of them I haven’t seen for years now and once I get to the golf course, I’ve got my eye on some more trophies.

“It will be my first time playing in Melbourne since the 2019 Presidents Cup which was one of the best experiences I’ve had in golf. The crowds were incredible that week and I’m looking forward to a similar atmosphere at Victoria and Kingston Heath.”

Smith joins his good mate Marc Leishman and PGA Tour winner Lucas Herbert as Australian stars to commit to the first national open to feature men’s, women’s and All Abilities events playing for equal prize money of minimum $3.4 million.

Smith, 29, is intent on capping off his unforgettable 2022 with more silverware on Australian soil and he will also tee it up at the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship at Royal Queensland from November 24-27.

Buhai, 33, is the latest high-profile international to confirm a place in the tournament - after New Zealand’s top-ranked men’s golfer Ryan Fox kicked off the international signings last week - and the South African’s commitment is a major coup.

Earlier in the month she won her first major on the fourth playoff hole at Muirfield and, like Smith, she is eager to top off her stellar year down under.

“I love coming to Australia and playing on some of the best golf courses in the world,” Buhai said.

“I played at Victoria Golf Club in the Women’s Australian Open in 2014 and, even though I missed the cut, I know it’s a fantastic venue and Melbourne is a great place. If I can add another trophy to my collection that would be a great way to end an already very special year.

Golf Australia Chief Executive James Sutherland said securing Smith and Buhai was a massive boost to both the ISPS HANDA Australian Open and Australian golf.

“Over the last few years Australians golf fans have loved following the rise of Cameron Smith,” Sutherland said.

“He delights fans of all ages and even young kids have been inspired by him, turning up to golf sporting mullets and dreaming of playing like him.

“For Australian golf fans this is a great opportunity to come and watch Cameron – and to recognise his brilliant achievements, including his most recent Open Championship victory.

"Announcing the two recent winners of the men’s and women’s Open Championship in one day is a sign of the star-studded fields that are building for the Australian Open.  

“Ashleigh Buhai is one of those stars and her commitment to the event highlights how well-received our new format has been internationally. She is a major champion and she wants to not only be a part of it.

“The presence of this year’s Open champion and AIG Women’s Open champion is a great coup for the event and golf fans should not miss the opportunity to see them in action.”

Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Steve Dimopoulos said: “We’re delivering a blockbuster calendar of major events with this Australian Open giving Victorian fans the opportunity to be a part of a history-making event.”

“We’re proud to support this spectacular series of events that will showcase local talent while bringing men’s, women’s and all abilities competitions together right here in Melbourne.”

 

For immediate release: Wednesday, 24 August, 2022

 

Leishman commits to the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship and ISPS HANDA Australian Open

Australian Olympic representative Marc Leishman is coming home this summer with the Victorian locked in to play the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship and ISPS HANDA Australian Open in November and December.

Leishman, 38, is a six-time winner on the PGA Tour and has recorded five top-15 finishes in the 2021/22 season.

The world number 63 has consistently performed on the big stage having finished in the top-ten of major championships on six occasions (three times each at The Masters and The Open) and this summer is set to be no exception.

The Fortinet Australian PGA Championship at Royal Queensland Golf Club (November 24-27) and the ISPS HANDA Australian Open at Victoria Golf Club and Kingston Heath Golf Club (December 1-4) are the two marquee events on the recently announced ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia 2022-23 schedule and both events are co-sanctioned by the DP World Tour.

“My family and I cannot wait to come home to Australia and I’m eager to win in front of a home crowd,” Leishman said.

“We’ve not been back to Australia to compete for a while now and I’m buzzing to play in front of the Aussie crowd once again. I’ve always received good support in Queensland and I’m looking forward to the energy of the crowd at the Australian PGA Championship.

“The last time I played in Australia was at the 2019 Presidents Cup and the Melbourne crowd was sensational. It’ll be brilliant to experience a similar atmosphere at Victoria and I’m looking forward to seeing a few familiar faces come up from my hometown of Warrnambool.”

Leishman is the latest name, alongside Hannah Green, Lucas Herbert and Min Woo Lee, to confirm that they will feature within the Australian summer of golf. 

PGA of Australia CEO Gavin Kirkman acknowledged the thrilling line-up that’s taking shape for the summer of golf.

“It is great news to have Marc coming home to play our marquee events again,” Kirkman said.

“He has a fantastic record in the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship having finished top-ten five times and has been one of the top Australian players for a long time now. Australian golf fans love Marc and I know I’m not alone in saying I can’t wait to see him in action this November and December.”

Golf Australia Chief Executive James Sutherland said: “Marc is a proud Australian, and a fan favourite, we saw how much he meant to him to represent his country during the Tokyo Olympic Games last year. His commitment to our big tournaments once again shows how much he cares about the game in this country. Hearing the crowds get behind Marc at Royal Queensland, Victoria and Kingston Heath will be something special.” 

Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, Steve Dimopoulos said: “Victorian fans are going to be in for a treat, with the opportunity to rally behind one of their own for a growing line-up of star talent playing at the Australian Open this December.”

“We’re proud to support this spectacular series of events that will showcase local talent while bringing men’s, women’s and all abilities competitions together right here in Melbourne.”

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said that locking in one of Australia’s most high-profile golfers for the event was a win for Brisbane. 

“Brisbane is proud to be hosting the Australian PGA Championship, with the world’s best golfers teeing off their summer on the pristine greens of the Royal Queensland Golf Club,” he said. 

“More than 40,000 spectators will gather to see some of the greatest golfers in the world, including Marc Leishman play on Australian soil, which will deliver a $16 million economic dividend to local hotels, restaurants and retailers.”

The Fortinet Australian PGA Championship is proudly supported by the Queensland Government, through Tourism and Events Queensland and Brisbane City Council, through Brisbane Economic Development Agency.

 

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