BARWON HEADS, AUSTRALIA | There is a full international, multicultural experience going on this week at the women’s ISPS Handa Vic Open, where there are Filipino and French players in the field, Icelanders, Indians and Italians, and Ecuadoreans and English.
Some locals believe that no golf tournament in this country has ever featured quite such a broad church of nationalities as this field at 13th Beach Golf Links.
Yet, and this has become one of the talking points of the week, there are precious few of the leading Americans and Asians here from the LPGA Tour.
On the surface, that appears a little odd. The Vic Open has become a co-sanctioned LPGA Tour event for the first time and it has won that privilege on the back of its groundbreaking work in promoting gender equality, equal rights and prize-money parity. The women’s tournament is being played in conjunction with a men’s event co-sanctioned by the European Tour and PGA Tour of Australasia, with players competing on the same courses – the Beach and Creek layouts at 13th Beach – under exactly the same conditions and for equal purses.
So, in a women’s field of 156 players, the organisers are saying (quietly): surely the event deserves the support of more than 30 Americans and three of the top 40 players in the world.
Even some relative locals such as world No. 14 Lydia Ko of New Zealand have chosen to skip the event. Today, she’ll be running a corporate day in Melbourne for one of her major sponsors, the ANZ B...
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