"All credit goes to Golf Australia for their consistent vision to bring the LPGA Tour to Australia," LPGA Tour Commissioner Michael Whan said. "The LPGA is delighted to partner with Golf Australia to showcase some of the greatest golfers in the world in one of the greatest locations in world — the famous Melbourne Sandbelt — and at one of the most respected golf venues in the world — Royal Melbourne."
The LPGA Tour and Australian Ladies Professional Golf said Thursday that the $1.1 million Women's Australian Open will be played from Feb. 9-12 and begin a three-tournament swing in Asia that includes stops in Thailand and Singapore. In 2013, the Australian Open will move to Royal Canberra.
"This is a landmark day for Australian golf and particularly women's golf in Australia," Golf Australia CEO Stephen Pitt said. "This is a very exciting time in Australian golf and a year of firsts for the championship. We're looking forward to working with the LPGA on a world-class event on Royal Melbourne's composite course for the first time."
Top-ranked Yani Tseng won the event this year at Commonwealth Golf Club in Melbourne.
"Australia is one of my favorite places in the world," Tseng said. "I won the Australian Open last year and the attendance was great. I'm really excited to go back and defend my title as an LPGA tournament. I think everyone from LPGA is very excited for it."
The Australian Ladies Masters was co-sanctioned by the LPGA and ALPG from 1997-2000, and they also sanctioned an unofficial team event in Perth in 2007.
"As an Australian, I'm very happy to see the LPGA playing back in my home country," four-time Women's Australian Open winner Karrie Webb said. "I know the Melbourne sport fans will support the event in the true fanatical way they always do."