The New Zealand Golf Open is returning to Queenstown next
year in a move that will water down the New Zealand PGA
The Open tournament, a tier one event on the PGA Tour of
Australasia, will be held from February 27 to March 2 at The
Hills Golf Course and Millbrook Resort and will now also be
co-sanctioned by the Japan Golf Tour.
It will include a unique pro-am format played concurrently
with the professional tournament following the principles
established for this year's PGA Championship.
The purse for the event will be a minimum of $850,000 but
that figure will be finalised once current stakeholder
negotiations have been concluded.
A return to Queenstown is the result of New Zealand Golf, the
PGA of New Zealand and Michael Hill Tournaments Limited
coming to an agreement on the future structure of major men's
golf tournaments in New Zealand.
The parties have agreed to pool resources with the aim of
creating one iconic tournament but it means the New Zealand
PGA Championship, a tournament that was won by Kiwi Michael
Hendry this year, will initially be continued on a smaller
Under the agreement, NZ Golf has licensed MHTL to organise
and take full responsibility for the New Zealand Open for an
initial period of three years.
Paul Fyfe, the Chairman of New Zealand Golf, noted that this
is an important moment for New Zealand's premier golf
"The New Zealand Open has a rich and diverse 106-year legacy
and we are excited by the potential for the event to flourish
in Queenstown," Fyfe said.
"We believe that this will be a world first for a national
Open championship to incorporate a pro-am format and it will
be an exciting new era for the New Zealand Open.
"We would like to sincerely thank Christchurch City Council
and Clearwater Golf Resort for their support over the past
two New Zealand Opens. These events have been wonderful for
the city and achieved much for the game of golf. Christchurch
remains a wonderful place to host golf events and we look
forward to working alongside the city to deliver the New
Zealand Women's Open and other events in Christchurch for
years to come."
John Hart, the tournament chairman on behalf of MHTL, said
this was a landmark agreement by all parties involved.
"We are thrilled that New Zealand Golf and the NZPGA have
taken a 'whole of golf' approach and have recognised that New
Zealanders will be well served by having one premier golf
tournament that can compete on an international scale," said
The arrangement with the JGTO means 15 top Japanese players
will take part in the New Zealand Open and the winner will
score entry to a selection of tournaments on the lucrative
- The professional field of 132 players will play the first
two rounds on both The Hills and Millbrook Resort ahead of
the second round cut, with 60 Professionals (plus ties)
returning to The Hills for rounds three and four.
- The NZ Open Champion will be the leading player after 72
holes of stroke play competition.
- The NZ Open has formed a partnership with the Japan Golf
Tour Organisation. The tournament will provide 15 positions
in the field for current tour members of the JGTO.
- In return the JGTO will provide the winner of the NZ Open
with automatic entry into the Japan Golf Tour Championship
and two other events on the Japan Golf Tour.
- The invitation will extend to the NZ Open champion or the
highest placed player who is not already a member of the
Japan Golf Tour.
- The New Zealand Open remains a PGA Australasian Tour event.
- An exclusive pro-am championship will run concurrently to
the NZ Open and will be held over four rounds, with rounds
one and two at The Hills and Millbrook Resort, and rounds
three and four at The Hills.
- After two rounds, the pro-am teams will be cut to the
leading 30 teams (and ties) who will play the third round at
The Hills. At the end of the third round the Pro-Am teams
will be cut to the leading 10 teams (and ties) who will
contest the final round of the New Zealand Pro-Am
Championship at The Hills, alongside the NZ Open final round.
- This format will see amateur players competing in the thick
of the action alongside the players contesting one of New
Zealand's oldest sporting titles.