08 Nov 2021 | Professional golf |

New event honours Australia's greatest major champion

by Australian Golf Media

Karrie Webb at today's announcement at Royal Queensland Golf Club.
Karrie Webb at today's announcement at Royal Queensland Golf Club.

Major champion Hannah Green will headline the inaugural Australian WPGA Championship as 24 of Australia’s best female golfers compete for the Karrie Webb Cup to be staged alongside the Australian PGA Championship at Royal Queensland Golf Club in Brisbane. The 2021 Scottish Open champion Min Woo Lee, and former US Open champion and winner of the Joe Kirkwood Cup in 2008, Geoff Ogilvy will tee it up in the 2021 Australian PGA Championship from January 13-16.   But it is the announcement of the new WPGA Tour of Australasia event that breaks new ground for one of Australia’s oldest professional championships. Key points include:

  • The inaugural Australian WPGA Championship field will be limited to 24 players and will be held concurrently with the 2021 Australian PGA Championship at Royal Queensland Golf Club from January 13-16, 2022;

  • The winner of the Australian WPGA Championship will receive the Karrie Webb Cup;

  • The winner of the Australian WPGA Championship will receive $180,000;

  • The 2021 Australian PGA Championship field will consist of 120 male players with the winner to also receive $180,000;

  • 2019 KPMG Women’s PGA champion and Tokyo Olympian Hannah Green is a confirmed starter for the Australian WPGA Championship;

  • 2021 Scottish Open champion Min Woo Lee and 2006 US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy and are confirmed starters for the men’s championship with other names to be added in the weeks ahead.

Given the collaboration and strong relationship in recent years between the PGA of Australia and WPGA Tour of Australasia, a showcase of both male and female professionals at one of the country’s most prestigious golf clubs represents another exciting step forward for the game. And in a fitting tribute to Australia’s greatest major champion, the Australian WPGA Championship winner will receive the Karrie Webb Cup that will be designed by the seven-time major champion herself. “I’m honoured that my name can feature on the Australian WPGA Championship trophy but I am even more excited by Australia’s leading female players having another marquee event to play in,” said Webb, winner of 56 professional tournaments in her Hall of Fame career. “Playing in the Women’s Australian Open and the Australian Ladies Masters was critical to my development as a tournament professional so I know what having another 72-hole Championship event will mean to the future of women’s professional golf in Australia. “Together with the advent of the Webex Players Series these playing opportunities and exposure will help this exciting group of girls to advance and take their games to the world.” The intention is for the Australian WPGA Championship to be a stand-alone event from 2023 onwards but the circumstances imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic presented a unique opportunity to bring the two tournaments together. “We have been working alongside the WPGA Tour of Australasia for the past year and given the difficulty in bringing players in from overseas playing the two tournaments in the same week at the Royal Queensland Golf Club seemed the perfect fit,” said PGA of Australia CEO Gavin Kirkman. “I know the Australian WPGA Championship and Karrie Webb Cup will grow and create its own history and I am sure fans at Royal Queensland will enjoy the chance to see our best male and female players side by side.” The inclusion of the new event on the WPGA Tour of Australasia schedule – plus three Webex Players Series events and planned Vic Open – delivers five events over the summer that will receive widespread coverage. “Any time you can add a new event to your schedule it is something to celebrate and having Karrie’s involvement and endorsement gives the Australian WPGA Championship instant credibility,” said WPGA Tour of Australasia CEO Karen Lunn. “Karrie’s playing record as Australia’s greatest ever golfer is of course unparalleled and her active involvement in mentoring the current crop of Australia’s leading female players has no doubt contributed to their recent stories of success. “I have absolutely no doubt that every Aussie girl who picks up a golf club will want to one day win the Karrie Webb Cup.” The Australian PGA and WPGA championships would not be possible without the support of the Queensland Government via Tourism and Events Queensland and Brisbane City Council via the Brisbane Economic Development Agency. Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said securing both the inaugural WPGA Championship and the Australian PGA Championship further consolidates Brisbane’s reputation as the home of major sporting events this January. “This will be the first time in two years since the top male and female golfers have competed in Australia, and Brisbane will be ready to welcome visitors and sports fans this summer,” Cr Schrinner said. “We are now officially an Olympic City and hosting events like this in our lead up to the 2032 Games cements out city’s ability to host world-class sporting events like the Australian PGA and WGPA Championships.” Tourism and Sport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said hosting the first Australian WPGA Championship alongside the Australian PGA was sporting history in the making at the Royal Queensland Golf Club.   “Having the two premier events played here in Queensland has the potential to be inspirational for young girls and women with an interest in the game,” said Mr Hinchliffe.   “It demonstrates playing at the game’s highest level is achievable.   “We know the WPGA and PGA will bring support crew and spectators to Brisbane which is good news for the accommodation, transport and catering suppliers who rely on our visitor economy and the jobs it supports.         “The WPGA and PGA are another opportunity to promote our city as a home for great sporting events.” The Australian PGA Championship and Australian WPGA Championship will be played at the Royal Queensland Golf Club in Brisbane from January 13-16, 2022. Tickets, Hospitality and VIP Experiences are on sale at ticketek.com.au.

Additional quotes

Geoff Ogilvy, 2006 US Open champion and 2008 Australian PGA champion “Adding my name to the Joe Kirkwood Cup in 2008 was a significant moment in my career and I’m very much looking forward to the opportunity again at Royal Queensland Golf Club in January. My interest in course design is quite well known and as part of the OCM team who are now the consulting architects at Royal Queensland it presents a great opportunity to put my understanding of the golf course into practice in tournament conditions.” Hannah Green, 2019 KPMG Women’s PGA champion “I was fortunate to have Karrie there with me to help celebrate when I won the Women’s PGA in 2019 and to now have the opportunity to win the Karrie Webb Cup gives me extra motivation. Her wins provided inspiration to countless young girls such as myself to get into golf so now it’s our turn to continue on that legacy. It’s wonderful to see a new tournament for the girls to play in and winning the trophy in honour of Karrie Webb is definitely a new goal I want to achieve at least once in my career.” Min Woo Lee, 2020 Vic Open champion and 2021 Scottish Open champion “I can’t wait to get home and to play in front of Aussie fans again. Winning my first professional event at the Vic Open last year gave me a lot of confidence and the crowds at Thirteenth Beach were just amazing. I’ve got no doubt that given the difficulty in staging tournaments the past 18 months we’ll see massive galleries at Royal Queensland and the inclusion of the girls adds another element that I’m sure the fans will enjoy.”

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