It was announced yesterday on an Aussie sports website (official confirmation to follow from World Snooker shortly) that Bendgio in Australia's Victoria province had earned the right to host the Australian Goldfields Open for the next three years and will feature 32 of the world's top players (top 16 with 16 qualifiers as per usual in full ranking events.)
Minister for Tourism and Major Events Louise Asher explained what this announcement meant for Victoria.
"The Australian Goldfields Open will be played in Bendigo from 18-24 July 2011 providing an outstanding opportunity to see top sporting action in regional Victoria.
"The Australian Goldfields Open is the latest addition to Victoria's award winning major events calendar of exciting, world-class events that is sure to thrill and entertain Victorians and visitors alike.
"The event will showcase our beautiful and historic Goldfields region through a global broadcast which will reach over 66 countries; including key tourism markets such as China and the United Kingdom.
"This event really puts Bendigo on the map and raises the profile of regional Victoria on the world stage," said Ms Asher.
Neil Robertson became the first Australian to win the World Championship in 2010. The current world no.5 and last year's World Open champion said at the launch that the event would give a huge boost to the popularity of Snooker in the country;
"This is a long-standing dream come true for me, as I am sure it is for many snooker players and fans in Australia,"
"To have a world ranking event in my home state will be just unbelievable and I hope to get a lot of support.
"I know some of the other players are excited about coming to Australia and I'm looking forward to showing them around.
"It's fantastic to see snooker becoming much more of a global game, it looks like we'll be clocking up a lot of air miles in the next few years!"
Neil is also from Victoria and originally comes from Melbourne which is a short distance away from Bendigo so he will have a massive following from his friends and family and will be a crowd favourite even with the likes of Ronnie O'Sullivan and Judd Trump being there.
The winner of the Australian Goldfields Open will take home the top prize of $60,000 Australian dollars which is the equivalant of around £40,000 and take home 5000 ranking points which is the same amount as the winner gets for the Welsh Open and most importantly the honor and prestige of winning Australia's first ever ranking tournament!