WORLD No.17 golfer Louis Oosthuizen will headline this summer’s $1.75m Perth International at Lake Karrinyup in a major boost for the tournament in its new February timeslot.
South Africa’s Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion, will play on Australian soil for the first time following a stellar year where he achieved runner-up finishes at two of golf’s four majors.
The 33-year-old is the first player confirmed for the WA event, which sits alongside the Australian PGA Championship as the country’s richest golf tournament.
IMG Australia vice-president director of golf David Rollo said he was confident Oosthuizen would be a significant drawcard for local golf fans, including plenty from Perth’s significant South African expat community.
“Louis is one of the best players in the world with one of the best actions in the world,” Rollo told PerthNow. “He’s one of my favourite players to watch, so we think that’s a really exciting addition and starting point for us. We expect that he’ll contend and do well.”
This summer’s Perth International will run from February 25-28 after shifting from the October timeslot it occupied from its inception in 2012.
Rollo said the date change would help avoid congestion in the schedule and take advantage of tournaments in nearby Asia, such as the Maybank Championship Malaysia event, where Oosthuizen will compete in the week before heading to Perth.
“The strength and depth of the field… we’re really confident this summer will continue to take a step forward from where we were last year with this new date,” Rollo said. “We’re pretty optimistic. We’ve always had such great reviews of the golf course there, so hopefully after three years, there’s a bit of word-of-mouth about the fact it’s a nice event on a great course.”
The tournament’s field will expand from 144 to 156 due to co-sanctioning from the Asian Tour alongside the European Tour and PGA Tour of Australasia. Tourism Minister Kim Hames said the tournament would showcase WA to more than 400 million homes around the world through broadcast coverage.