Sir Ian Botham's wife, Kathy, looks on as her husband chips
on to the second green during a round at The Hills
yesterday. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Sir Ian Botham may be a patriotic Englishman, but he
clearly has a soft spot for Queenstown.
The cricket great said yesterday if he was to live anywhere
else in the world, ''it would be here''.
Speaking at a press conference at The Hills, Botham - in the
resort to play as an amateur in the New Zealand PGA Pro-Am -
told the media he knew the area well.
''I've been to Queenstown a lot. When you get down here, it
just feels like a second home in many ways.
''It's got everything - it's got the seasons, skiing, winter
sports, the summer sports ... and a few wineries.
''I'm going to Amisfield for lunch. Their pinot is one of the
The effervescent commentator, dressed in a bright orange polo
shirt and multi-coloured shorts - attire course owner Sir
Michael Hill would have been proud of - said he had been
making the most of his time in New Zealand, paying particular
attention to the fishing spots.
While the fishing was good, the experience of being ''eaten
to death by little flies'' would not rate as a highlight.
However, he felt he got his own back on the sandflies who
attacked his ankles.
''I think they all died of a hangover after.
''The temperature of the river was perfect; we just put the
chardonnay in it ... it's the way to go fishing.''
In the North Island, he had gone white water rafting and
joked he had begun training for the Taupo ironman.
However, any suggestions of bungy jumping in the adventure
capital of New Zealand were quickly dismissed.
''No. It's the one [activity] where you must not lie about
In the lead-up to the event at The Hills, Botham (57) had
played at Kinloch, in Taupo, one of his ''favourite golf
''It just gets better and better.''
While his handicap had ''slipped a bit'', having previously
been off four and now off nine, he had no hesitation in
accepting the offer to play in the second annual tournament
at The Hills.
''It took about 30 seconds [to decide]. That's how long it
took me to get the iPad up to check the dates.
''I've played here before [and] Millbrook and Arrowtown -
which is one of the quirky little courses; risk and reward -
mainly risk in my case.''