15 Dec 2021 | Professional golf |

The Athena announces 5 invitees and return of key commercial partners

by Contributor

Cassie Porter, Grace Kim, Kirsten Rudgeley, Steph Bunque and Amelia Garvey have accepted invitations to play in the 2022 Athena.
Cassie Porter, Grace Kim, Kirsten Rudgeley, Steph Bunque and Amelia Garvey have accepted invitations to play in the 2022 Athena.

The WPGA Tour announce the first five invitees for the Athena 2022 and the return of key commercial partners.

The Athena, a compact two-day event concept, will be played at newly re-designed Sandy Golf Links on Melbourne’s famous sandbelt on the 26th and 27th of February 2022, and will be broadcast live on Fox Sports / Kayo and, in a newly confirmed deal today, via Sky in New Zealand from 12:30pm to 4:30pm each day (AEDT).

Today five of the 12 players who have accepted invitations to compete in the 2022 Athena have been named. They are:

  • Cassie Porter – @cassie_porter_

  • Grace Kim - @gracekimmey

  • Kirsten Rudgeley - @kirstenrudgeleygolf

  • Steph Bunque - @stephaniebunque

  • Amelia Garvey (New Zealand) - @ameliagarvey

Steph Bunque, a returning player from the inaugural Athena says:

“I’m super excited to have been invited to take part in the Athena for its second year in a row. To be able to participate in an event which showcases us women and encourages difference and progression in this sport is something I’m definitely proud to be apart of!”

Steph’s 2021 Athena Profile is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cC8y8zAsCaw&t=6s

Amelia Garvey is the first player to be invited from New Zealand after a successful collaboration effort by WPGA Tour and Golf NZ for this summer’s event.

This collaboration has been proudly supported with an investment from Sky to broadcast the event LIVE.

Adam Crothers, Sky’s Head of Sport Partnerships says: “We’re really excited to share The Athena on Sky, the home of golf in Aotearoa New Zealand, and we’re even more delighted talented Kiwi golfer Amelia Garvey is taking part in 2022. The Athena is an innovative and exciting format which will encourage more girls and young women into the sport. Blending skills development with match play and opening the tournament up through digital apps is unique and will appeal to a wide range of young and aspiring women golfers. 

“The Athena will be appointment viewing alongside an impressive slate of other women’s sport on Sky in early 2022. We’re convinced ‘if you see it, you know you can be it’. We’ll continue to look for ways to showcase premium women’s sport.”

It is with great excitement that we also welcome back 2 returning commercial partners for the Athena 2022, adidas Golf and Callaway.

Both partners contributed significantly to the concept launch and success of The Athena in 2021.

“Commercial partners who are intrinsically aligned to the success and professional presentation of the next generation of extraordinary female talent in our game are extremely important” says Karen Lunn, WPGA Tour CEO. “We see adidas and Callaway as long-term partners in the Athena and are very thankful they have increased their investment in the Athena to ensure these underrepresented athletes feel supported on and off the course.”

Darryn Lowe, General Manager of adidas Golf Pacific said “adidas Golf are extremely excited and proud to extend our relationship with The Athena for 2022. Being progressive and Inclusive is a major focus at adidas and with a dedicated focus on the female athlete and consumer in 2022, The Athena is the perfect platform for us to showcase the adidas Golf brand and provide support to the best of the best when it comes to female golfers across Pacific. We absolutely love everything that The Athena is about and look forward to working closely with WPGA Tour and other partners to make this another major success.”

Matt Meredith, Managing Director of Callaway South Pacific said “Callaway Golf are truly proud to be supporting The Athena again in February 2022. Callaway has a long history of supporting Women’s Golf and this truly revolutionary event is something we see as a key component in the growth of Elite Golf in Australia. It is an amazing opportunity for future female stars to compete on the big stage. The newly renovated Sandy Links which also happens to be the new home of all three major Golf governing bodies provides a great synergy for the event. We look forward to even more innovation at the 2022 Athena and thank the WPGA for continuing to welcome Callaway into their family.”

The PGA continues to support the Athena as another significant illustration of the collaboration between the PGA of Australasia and the WPGA Tour of Australasia. Golf Australia also proudly support the Athena concept.

Key points for The Athena 2022:

  • A digital qualification for two playing spots in The Athena 2022 has been created on the Golf Challenge App: The Athena Q Series. Two players in the top 10 of the Athena Q Series Leaderboard at the end of January 2022 will play in the Athena 2022. This is a world-first for golf.

  • 2021 was the inaugural year of The Athena with over 265,000 viewers of both live and replay broadcast on Foxtel alone. Data on viewership on other platforms (inc Kayo and Sky broadcast) were not available.

  • Of the 12 women to compete in the Athena 2022, 9 are selected by the WPGA Futures Advisory Panel as the best youth players in our region (professional or amateur), 2 from the Athena Q Series and Amelia Garvey represents New Zealand through a new collaboration with Golf NZ for this concept.

  • Prizemoney for the winner of The Athena will be $30,000, an amount that proved to be significant for 2021 Champion Kristalle Blum’s ability to compete in Europe during the 2021 season.

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