Perth has produced some leading golfers including Minjee Lee and Hannah Green. (AAP/ABC News)
The decision to scrap the World Super Six golf tournament in Perth from next year is a blow to the sport in Western Australia, and ends the city’s long-standing relationship with high quality international golf. But it is no surprise.
The tournament struggled to attract top-ranked players. This year’s tournament did not feature one top–50 player, and as a result did not capture the imaginations of tourists or Tourism WA.
“Tourism WA’s focus is on attracting people from outside the state to visit for a holiday to help fill hotel rooms, cafes, bars, restaurants and retail shops, as well as creating jobs,” a Tourism WA spokesperson said.
“While the World Super 6 attracts significant international and domestic media exposure, our Two-Year Action Plan outlines the need to support events that attract higher visitation to WA.”
Big international events like the Manchester United game at Perth Stadium attract valuable international visitors. (AAP: Richard Wainwright)
Golf’s steady decline
Drawing crowds into WA has long been the justification for the government funding expensive sporting events, such as the highly successful State of Origin and Bledisloe Cup matches, as well as the recent tours to Perth by English Premier League giants Chelsea and Manchester United.
The state is also funding tennis’s Fed Cup final, which will be held in November, and the ATP Cup in January, as it continues to search for marquee events to attract visitors — and it seems the money being spent on golf in Perth could be put to better use in staging events with more pulling power.
The end of the Super Six event, a unique golf tournament in that it was a mix of stroke-play and match-play, brings to a close a steady decline from what were heady days for golf in Western Australia.
Greg Norman was among the big-name players to tee off in Perth in the 1990s. (AAP: Dave Hunt)
It started out in 2012 as the Perth International — the richest golf tournament in the country — before being reborn as the World Super Six in 2017 after organisers struggled to have the required three top-20 players at the event.
It was a far cry from the 1990s and 2000s, when the likes of Greg Norman, Ian Baker-Finch and Ernie Els headlined golfing tournaments in Western Australia.
Women’s golf could hold the key
Perth has produced some of the world’s best golfers in recent times, and currently boasts Women’s PGA Tour Championship winner Hannah Green and current World number six Minjee Lee.
Perhaps it is time for the State Government to leverage the strength of the women’s game, and the talent produced in the state, by making a pitch for the Women’s Australian Open.
The tournament is currently under contract to Adelaide until 2021, but it could be the event to fill the void created by the axing of the Super Six.