History of Singapore’s National Open
The Singapore Open, the national golf tournament sanctioned by the Singapore Golf Association and widely regarded as ‘Asia’s Major’, is an iconic event in the region’s golfing calendar, with a rich history that dates back to its inaugural edition in 1961. In its formative years, the Singapore Open earned its place in the history books as a tournament that helped build the foundations for the development of the sport in Asia. In fact, the Singapore Open was part of Asia’s very first professional golf circuit. Formerly known as Far East Circuit and founded in 1961, the tour consisted of just five tournaments – namely the national open championships of Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Japan.
Held at Singapore Island Country Club’s Bukit Course, the inaugural Singapore Open in 1961 attracted a field of 34 players, hailing from the likes of Australia, New Zealand and all across Southeast Asia. Frank Philips – a two-time Australian Open champion – emerged as the winner of the tournament, earning him a prize winning of S$2,500 out of the total pool of S$21,000.
From the humble beginnings, the Singapore Open has since grown in stature and popularity, cementing its position as one of the most prestigious iconic golf events in Asia. In 2001, the tournament reached a prize money of US$1 million for the first time, and thereafter continued to gradually increase to a high of US$6 million in 2012, making it one of the most lucrative national Open in Asia at that time.
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A highlight on the local & regional sporting calendar
To date, the tournament has been held 55 times and while it has undergone several changes over the years, including changes in venues, formats, and title sponsors, the Singapore Open remains an integral part of Singapore’s sporting landscape, and a highly anticipated event on the Asian golf calendar that is celebrated by players and fans alike, with the recent editions continuing to achieve promising numbers in spectatorship, broadcast viewership and digital engagement, and adding to the event’s enduring legacy.
The Singapore Open, which has been held at Sentosa Golf Club’s award-winning The Serapong course in recent editions, boasts a large and enthusiastic crowd of golf fans and spectators, with attendance figures consistently reaching impressive numbers. While the most recent edition was played without spectators due to pandemic restrictions, the 2020 tournament saw around 34,000 fans in attendance over four days.
Besides being treated to world-class golf action, visitors of all ages also got to enjoy a variety of activities. Golf-themed games and experiences such as putting challenges and driving ranges were available at the Discover Golf Carnival, while the Chip In For Arc Challenge fundraising activity had fans participating in a mini competition while supporting Arc Children’s Centre charity organisation.
Golf clinics were also available at the event to allow fans to learn from professional players and coaches. In addition, there were also merchandise and food and beverage booths, as well as charity and sustainability programs, such as the Green Agenda initiative, which promotes eco-friendly practices and raises awareness about environmental issues.
The Singapore Open also offers a world-class hospitality experience that matches the prestige of the event's on-field action. Sponsors and partners are provided with an ideal platform to engage with golf enthusiasts, guests, and high-net-worth clients. In 2022, the tournament welcomed over 1,500 guests and VIPs to various hospitality areas and suites overlooking the 18th hole, offering a prime view of the exciting golf action.
TV Broadcast Audience
The Singapore Open is broadcast globally to viewers via a range of television and digital platforms. The 2022 edition had an impressive 1,462 hours of TV broadcast coverage, reaching almost 5.2 million TV audience across 44 countries – of which, 58% of the TV audience were from Asia-Pacific region.
On a country level, Hong Kong accounted for the largest share of viewership at over 700,000 viewers (14%), while home market Singapore registered 560,000 viewers (11%), making it the second highest market overall. The final round, day 4 of the tournament, was the most-watched, with a peak audience of 850,000 viewers witnessing Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana win the US$1.25 million tournament.
Digital & Social Media
The 2022 Singapore Open also made a significant impact on digital and social media platforms, with fans engaging with the event-related content and following the action online. The official website received over 1.7 million page views during the week of the event, four times more than in 2020.
The tournament’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube channels also experienced substantial growth in 2022, generating over 28 million impressions (nine times more than in 2020) and over 500,000 engagements (six times more than in 2020). The official channels provided regular and timely content leading up to and during the tournament, such as tournament updates, live leaderboard, player interviews, and behind-the-scenes coverage, with video content alone garnering 1.7 million views.
The Complete Sports & Lifestyle Platform
The Singapore Open golf tournament has a rich and fascinating history, having played a significant role in the development of the sport in Singapore and establishing itself as a premier event in the region. With consistently strong attendance, viewership and engagement figures in recent editions, there is no doubt that the Singapore Open will continue to captivate and inspire golf fans both locally and regionally.
For sponsors and partners of the tournament, this presents an excellent opportunity to connect with a highly engaged and passionate audience – one that is fast becoming a more diverse and inclusive golfing community today – and reap the many tangible benefits of being associated with one of Asia’s most prestigious sporting events.
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