New Zealand singer-songwriter Jamie McDell at The Hills on
Monday night. The young artist will release her debut album
this Friday and perform at the New Zealand PGA Championship
concert in March. Photo by Olivia Caldwell.
How to get generation Y interested in golf?
Host a concert featuring one of New Zealand's hot young
In order to attract a more youthful crowd to the New Zealand
PGA Championship next year, The Hills will host a small
The concert was announced on Monday night to friends and
invited guests of The Hills and will feature up-and-coming
teenage artist Jamie McDell, who will release her debut album
Tournament organiser and former Sony Music managing director
Michael Glading said a similarity had been drawn between the
20-year-old Aucklander and successful New Zealand artists
Brooke Fraser and Bic Runga at the same age.
McDell, who was on her first visit to Queenstown, performed
three songs in front of an audience of about 100 and
wasastonished by the landscape of the course and Queenstown.
"I am blown away. I can't believe this place."
Her hit singles to date include Rewind, All That I
Wanted and You'll Never Take That Away.
Tournament director John Hart said the concert, which would
be held on the second-last night of the tournament, on March
2, was about grabbing the attention of the younger crowd.
"We decided we'd like to have golf appeal to young people as
The announcement came shortly after teenage golf sensation
Lydia Ko confirmed her return to the pro-am tournament for
Ko is one of the world's most exciting young players and has
had a record-breaking year, becoming the youngest winner of
an LPGA Tour event at the Canadian Open, being top amateur at
the British Open, and winning the US Amateur Championship.
Even with a full calendar behind and ahead of her, the
15-year-old did not think twice about returning.
"The New Zealand PGA Championship last year was an absolute
blast and I had so much fun," Ko said.
"It's not often that you get to play alongside a Hollywood
star, give golf tips to the prime minister, and take on the
top male pros, so I was very keen to come and play in the
"When you add in the amazing course and all the great
activities that you can do in Queenstown it was an easy
decision to make."
She will pair up with English cricket great Sir Ian Botham.
Fellow English cricketer turned Australian cricket
commentator Tony Greig's appearance at the tournament is now
in doubt after he was diagnosed with lung cancer and began
treatment this week.
At The Hills, Mr Hart said Prime Minister John Key had
"announced he will play" at the tournament and South African
golfing great David Frost was likely to play.
A strong professional field was building, with the
tournament's inaugural winner, Michael Hendry, and runner-up
Mark Brown confirmed along with the highly ranked Australian
The prize kitty has increased to $600,000 and the amateur
field has expanded to 68, from last year's 62.
The tournament will run from February 29 to March 2.