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20x20 Ambassadors begin season Down Under

​Both Stephanie Meadow and Leona Maguire are beginning their 2019 seasons at The Vic Open in Melbourne

  • 07 February 2019

​Caption: Stephanie Meadow 20x20 Ambassador

THE VIC OPEN WEBSITE

The Vic Open has, positively, turned many heads this week as the co-sanctioned event run by the European Tour, the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australia and the LPGA Tour is the first Professional Golf Event where players compete on the same courses, at the same time and, excitingly, for the same prize money.

The total field size of 312 players will compete for a prize fund of $3,000,000 split evenly between the men's and women's events and while International fan favourites such as Andrew “Beef” Johnston and Paula Creamer have travelled to the 13th Beach Golf Links outside Melbourne, there is a large cohort of players for Irish sports fans to get behind.

Paul Dunne, Gavin Moynihan, Michael Hoey and Australian Amateur Champion Conor Purcell will be flying the flag for Ireland in the men’s event with both Stephanie Meadow and Leona Maguire beginning their 2019 seasons in the women’s.

Meadow, who regained her full LPGA status for this year, and Maguire who will be depending on invites in addition to her schedule on the Ladies European Tour, were named as Ambassadors of the 20x20 Campaign: If She Can’t See It, She Can’t Be it, last year. The campaign is aimed at creating a measurable cultural shift in the presentation and perception of women’s sport in Ireland. A broad-based approach but with three key metrics in mind: to boost media coverage, attendance at key events and participation each by 20 per cent between the end of 2018 and 2020.

There have been no shortage of big name organisations showing their support to the campaign including Investec and KPMG, sponsors of Meadow and Maguire repectively, and AIG who have long supported both amateur male and female golf in Ireland. Furthermore, the Irish Golf Media have embraced the success of our Ambassadors. Irish Golfer Magazine, media partner of the ILGU and GUI, have shared Stephanie’s journey with their readers via a column written by the Jordanstown native herself, and more recently the Irish Independent’s Tee to Green supplement have announced that Leona will be also sharing her insights with them.

Leona Maguire 1.JPG
Caption: Leona Maguire (Photo: Tim Cowie)

For golf to be represented in two of the six 20x20 Ambassadors is a massive boost for the game, and no doubt with programmes such as the CGI Women’s Get into Golf and Golf4Girls4Life, female participation will rise in the campaigns time frame. However, events such as The Vic Open are paramount to the international recognition of women’s golf. As 2006 US Open Champion, Geoff Ogilvy put it in an interview with Golf Australia this week:

“This, two real golf tournaments played at the same time on the same stage … like the Australian Open tennis is kind of, like it makes sense, right?" he said. “Equal money on both sides, spectators on the fairways, I want to be part of that.”

One can only look forward to more co-sanctioned events even closer to home where golf, no matter who is playing it, is the spectacle.