Former US Open champ to play in Queenstown

Geoff Ogilvy will play the New Zealand Open. Photo: Getty Images
Geoff Ogilvy will play the New Zealand Open. Photo: Getty Images
Former US Open golf champion Geoff Ogilvy wants to make his first visit to Queenstown memorable by winning the New Zealand Open trophy.

Ogilvy famously followed Michael Campbell as a US Open champion when he won the 2006 tournament at Winged Foot after Phil Mickleson and Colin Montgomerie crumbled under pressure on the 18th hole.

Now the 41-year-old Aussie, once ranked as high as No3 in the world, will join Campbell in the New Zealand Open at The Hills and Millbrook Resort, starting on February 28.

The chance to play the NZ Open for just the second time is due in part to Ogilvy's decision last year to return home to Melbourne with his family after 20 years in the US.

"The New Zealand Open is seen by golfers internationally as a fantastic tournament. They say Queenstown is the prettiest place in the world - I've never been there so I can't wait. Professional golf can put you in a box and when you play in the US it's just easier to stay there. It hasn't really been possible to compete in the New Zealand Open - but it is now and I couldn't be more excited," he said.

Ogilvy has won 12 times as a professional including eight PGA Tour events.

"We are delighted to attract someone of Geoff's calibre to this event," says tournament director Michael Glading.

"For two decades he has been one of Australia's most successful players in Europe and on the PGA Tour. We are confident he will enjoy the experiences on and off the golf course in Queenstown. Geoff is a student of the game and I know he is mindful of the great players from his homeland who have left such an indelible mark on the New Zealand Open in the past," he says.

Ogilvy is adamant he's not coming here to make up the numbers.

"The older you get, the more things like national opens take pride of place on your resume. Tournaments like the New Zealand Open stand the test of time."

Ogilvy last played here in the 1999 Open at Formosa but it is not how he wants to be remembered: "The wind blew 100 miles an hour, it was my last tournament after nine in a row and it was one tournament too far. I didn't make the cut - so let's call this my first time properly at a New Zealand Open," he said.

Although he is looking forward to the Open, he is unsure how much golf he will play in 2019 as his next few years will be dedicated more to his three children.

"I am done playing 26 to 30 tournaments a year at least for the next few years. If I play well, then absolutely I will likely play a bit more but if I don't, then I'll focus more on my golf architecture business and my media work. It is an exciting period but I will always be a professional golfer. I am always going to play a few tournaments every year," he says.

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