The Victorian Minister for Sport The Hon John Eren MP announced a $1.1 million funding boost for the Oates Vic Open over the next two years.
The increase in funding will allow the 2017 Oates Vic Open to be contested for a total prize purse of AU$1 million, shared evenly between the men's and women's fields. The combined prize pool will increase to $1.3 million in 2018.
The increase in prize money elevates the Men's Oates Vic Open to Tier 1 status on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia. The tournament becomes the seventh Tier 1 event on the tour alongside the Emirates Australian Open, Australian PGA Championship, World Super 6 Perth, NSW Open, ISPS HANDA New Zealand Open and Fiji International.
On the women's side, the tournament now offers the next largest winners cheque on the ALPG Tour, second only to the ISPS HANDA Women's Australian Open.
The exciting funding announcement was made this morning by the Minister at the official launch and business breakfast at The Grovedale Hotel.
"The Oates Vic Open is a key date on Victoria's great calendar of golf events.It's a chance to see the elite players in action, and it's also a great opportunity for young players to get their big break," said Eren.
"The big sporting events attract visitors in their thousands, and that's great news for local businesses and the local economy."
Golf Victoria CEO Simon Brookhouse is equally thrilled about the announcement and assures the 2017 instalment of the tournament will bring bigger and better things.
"Since taking the Oates Vic Open to Thirteenth Beach Golf Links, on the beautiful Bellarine Peninsula, we have been blown away by the support for the tournament," said Brookhouse.
"We thank the Victorian Government for their generous contribution and we are confident that the increase in prize money will encourage an even stronger field playing world-class golf for our spectators who come from far and wide to enjoy the golf and all else that is on offer during the week," he added.
In other great news for the 2017 Oates Vic Open, Avalon Airport has signed anew two-year Premium Partnership agreement with the event that will cement their relationship with the tournament.
Avalon Airport has recently secured a ten-year deal with the State Government and Jetstar. With expanded flights, along with this year's announcement of the new Avalon Airport industrial precinct, the Oates Vic Open partnership comes at a hugely exciting time in the airport's growth.
Marking over a decade of support, Treasury Wine Estates will once again partner the Oates Vic Open, through leading Australian winery Wolf Blass.
"In addition to the Victorian Government, we are grateful to City of Greater Geelong, our naming rights partner Oates, premium partners Coca-Cola Amatil and Avalon Airport and our championship partners who back the tournament each year,"said Brookhouse.
"It is with their support that we are able to continuously evolve the tournament. The recent launch of a dedicated tournament website (www.vicopengolf.com) has been the first of many upgrades for the 2017 event.
"We will also welcome back the live stream in 2017 and look forward to expanding the selection of food, beverages and entertainment available to spectators at Thirteenth Beach, including the return of "The Nest", Wolf Blass' wine bar, located around the 15th tee box."
The 2017 Oates Vic Open, which is a sanctioned event on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia and ALPG Tour, will be played 9-12 February at Thirteenth Beach Golf Links.
For all tournament related information, please visit www.vicopengolf.com.
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