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Geoff Ogilvy has his eyes on both the men’s and women’s Australian Opens. Not to play, but to surpass.
The 2006 U.S. Open champion, alongside tournament director and golf course architect Mike Clayton, has created a new professional golf tournament in Melbourne with a unique format that is set to be held at four world-class golf courses. The news was first reported by 10 News First in Melbourne.
The Sandbelt Invitational, Dec. 20-23, 2021, will be played at 2019 Presidents Cup host Royal Melbourne, Kingston Heath, Yarra Yarra and Peninsula Kingwood and will include both men and women, as well as a mix of professionals and amateurs.
“We called a few courses and they were almost unanimously instantaneously, ‘yes, were in.’” said Ogilvy to 10 News.
US Open champion @GeoffOgilvyGolf has launched a brand new pro golf tournament in Melbourne – The Sandbelt Invitational.
Held on 4 world-class courses, the event boasts an unorthodox format and a vision to become Australia's premier pro tournament.@10NewsFirstMelb pic.twitter.com/X1IezluMRn
— Henry Peters (@henrypeters22) October 19, 2021
“These kids need something to play in,” added Clayton. “They’re still playing football and cricket but there’s a whole bunch of really good players that have had nothing to play for almost two years.”
Ogilvy and Clayton have big plans for the future of the Sandbelt. The eight-time winner on the PGA Tour said that he plans for the event to be televised in the future and that he wants the tournament to rival the men’s and women’s Australian Opens on the calendar.
“The men and women thing, I think golf has always been a bit too segregated. I think we need to get everyone back into the same sort of pile,” said Ogilvy, who was disappointed in the cancellation of the national opens once again in 2021. He even thinks the separate opens should be a mixed event similar to the Victorian Open.
“For an event that everybody can come to, if it inspires the kids to play golf and gets people out there walking to come see their friends and be social, just like the races or footy or something,” said Ogilvy. “It’s more than just the game.”