The 62-year-old, playing in the innovative Sandbelt Invitational in Melbourne, said at Yarra Yarra Golf Club the tournament should have gone ahead with an all-local field.

“There’s 300 players in Australia who haven’t played for any money for a couple of years,” he said.

“You’ll make a star out of one of them by winning the Australian Open. I got on to the European Tour by winning the Australian Open.

“Just because there’s a few internationals who don’t want to come and play … making a star out of a young Australian would have been fantastic.”

“I think it was a pretty piss poor effort all around.” - Peter Fowler.

He said players understand the difficulties faced by tournament organisers because of COVID but added that when he heard the news the event had been cancelled for a second year, it was “devastating.”

“We want to play Championship golf around Championship courses for some decent money,” he said.

“It’s nice that we have some tournaments on but they’re not worth any money.

“I reckon Golf Australia don’t have much money but you don’t need big tents and everything.

“We played a golf course yesterday at Royal Melbourne and Kingston Heath the day before and Yarra Yarra today … they are fantastic tests of golf. You don’t need a big tent to play tournament golf at any of them.”

He said the financial burden has been real for the country’s professional golfers and the cancellation of the Australian Open had added to the stress.

“All the golfers have gone broke the last two years and we’ve got to have something,” he said.

“I think it was a pretty piss poor effort all around.”

Fowler is one of 30 professionals teeing up alongside 30 elite amateurs at the Sandbelt Invitational which is being played across four of the country’s most highly rated courses.

The final round will be played tomorrow at Peninsula Kingswood after the first three days were held at Kingston Heath, Royal Melbourne and Yarra Yarra.

Western Australia’s Brady Watt leads the tournament at nine-under through 54 holes, five shots clear of Sydney’s John Lyras and six ahead of Jed Morgan and Marcus Fraser.