Greg Turner: 'I never thought I would play the New Zealand
Open again so it should be an interesting week.'
Greg Turner credits the New Zealand Open for changing his
The two-time champion, who played his first competitive
tournament in eight years recently at the Harewood Open on
the Charles Tour, has taken his comeback a step further by
signing up for the New Zealand Open at the Clearwater Golf
Club from November 22 -25.
The 49-year-old, who plans to join the Senior European Tour
in 2013 when he turns 50, is playing his first New Zealand
Open in 10 years.
He last played in 2002 at Paraparaumu Beach when World No 1
Tiger Woods made a controversial appearance.
The four-time winner on the European Tour retired from
professional golf in 2004 to spend more time with his family.
He has since forged a successful course design business with
Scott Macpherson called Turner-Macpherson design.
He was quick to temper any expectation or prospects of
becoming a three-time champion at New Zealand's premier golf
"It would be incredibly optimistic to suggest that I would be
in contention to win. I would be happy if I made the cut,"
said Turner from his home in Central Otago.
"But I guess golf is a funny game and you never know. I never
thought I would play the New Zealand Open again so it should
be an interesting week."
In his time away from the game Turner has had plenty of time
to reflect and he said winning the New Zealand Open at
Paraparaumu in 1989 and Middlemore in 1997 were both
significant moments in his life.
"The win in 1989 at Paraparaumu was huge really and a massive
turning point for me," he said.
"I was having a really tough couple of years and was
struggling with a swing change that I had been working on
since May that year. I was really battling and my confidence
was really low. That win turned everything around and helped
me see the light at the end of the tunnel.
"It is impossible to overstate how important that win was for
me - it changed my whole career really.
"I went from being short of confidence in a swing change to
winning the NZ Open and then I went to the World Cup of Golf
in Europe with Simon Owen and we played really well to finish
sixth and then I went to European Tour School and two weeks
later got my card back. It was a massive turning point and I
will always remember that moment when I won my first New
"In 1997 - I just remember playing really well all week and
that week was the catalyst to me playing some of the best
golf in my career. I won late in '97 and went onto play in
The Presidents Cup which was one of the standout moments of
Turner, in his low-key way, said he is not entirely sure what
has inspired him to play the New Zealand Open.
"It's a big event, an important event and it's going to be
great to test myself in that environment. You can't create
those circumstances without playing big events and that is
what I am looking for."
Turner already holds a special place in New Zealand golf
history. Sir Bob Charles, who won the title four times (1954,
'66, '70 and '73), is the only Kiwi to have won more titles
in the post-war era.