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Golf Australia Express : OTG Express 172
1 NIGHT $149PP TWIN SHARE 2 NIGHTS TWIN SHARE $280PP 3 NIGHTS TWIN SHARE $349 PP ENJOY: Deluxe suite accomm Free wifi Free in-house movies Unlimited golf + cart for the duration of stay Daily buffet breakfast Day spa vouchers STAY& PLAY southern highlands (02) 4862 8600 gibraltarbowral.com.au T HIS year it’ll be called the Uniqlo Masters; last year it was the BetEasy Masters; the two years prior to that the Talisker Masters and it was known as the JBWere Masters immediately before that. It’s taken on several different complexions since the start of the decade, but the tournament we’ve known for nearly 40 years as the Australian Masters this week returns to its original home of Huntingdale Golf Club. It’s a nostalgic homecoming for a tournament that is slowly losing its lustre as our two other primary events forge international ties and hold firm with prizemoney in a challenging sports sponsorship environment. This year’s Masters will have a purse of $750,000, a startling reduction from the $1.5 million on offer in 2009 and meagre when compared to the Australian Open’s $1.25 million prize pot and the Australian PGA Championship’s $1.75 million pool. Yet prizemoney surely forms only part of a tournament’s health, and the Masters holds advantages that the other two do not. Most telling is the calibre of golf courses at its disposal. It’s a fine feather in the cap to say that Huntingdale is arguably the worst layout on the Masters rota, particularly in comparison with the trio of Sydney courses exchanging the Open and a resort layout like Royal Pines, home of the PGA. It’s not a fair fight considering the embarrassment of riches when it comes to Masters venues also includes Royal Melbourne, Kingston Heath, Metropolitan and Victoria. And while each of the ‘big three’ events has planted roots in different cities – thanks to state government support and the chance to ‘own’ its territory – few would argue against the inflated level of crowd support and general interest that comes with any sporting event held in Melbourne. But why, with such competitive advantages, is the Masters on the slide? Star signings are rare (deviating from the stated goal of at least three PREVIEW
OTG Express 171
OTG Express 173