NZ Open to go ahead next year

New Zealand golfing legend, Sir Bob Charles with the Claret Jug after his victory at the British Open in 1963. Photo: Photosport.nz
New Zealand golfing legend, Sir Bob Charles with the Claret Jug after his victory at the British Open in 1963. Photo: Photosport.nz
The NZ Open is a go for 2022.

Tournament chairman John Hart said given the "overwhelmingly positive support'' from key stakeholders, the organising committee has confirmed the 102nd edition of the Open will be played at Millbrook Resort, near Arrowtown, between March 31 and April 3.

Due to Covid restrictions the tournament has not been held since 2020.

Mr Hart said following discussions with PGA Tour of Australasia and Asian Tour, the co-sanctioning partners, tournament organisers were confident a strong international field would be able to play at the Open, "subject only to arriving at satisfactory options for players having to self-isolate upon entry to New Zealand".

“We have had initial conversations with a number of international based players who have indicated that they would be willing to isolate ahead of the tournament if practice facilities were available.

"We are now working through options with the Government on how this will work and are confident in finding a positive outcome for all."

Mr Hart said it was humbling and gratifying to see the level of support for the tournament, including from sponsors, international partners, the Ishii family and Millbrook.

In addition to teeing it up to claim the Brodie Breeze trophy as the 102nd Champion, the professional players next year will have the added incentive of a potential spot at The Open played at St Andrews.

The Open has been included in The Open Qualifying Series for the first time, which will see the top three finishers gain a coveted place in the field for the 150th playing of The Open at St Andrews next July.

"To have three guaranteed spots for the top finishers at the New Zealand Open at The Open is exceptional news, and we believe this will draw more and more international players to Queenstown in March," Mr Hart said.

Golf New Zealand Chief Executive, Dean Murphy said the opportunity "adds significantly" to the NZ Open's history.

“It’s pretty exciting that our national championship in New Zealand has been given the opportunity to have three places at the 150th milestone playing of The Open.

"We hope that this extra incentive provides those in the field a little more motivation to be at the top of the leaderboard when the final putt is sunk at Millbrook next year.

“All kiwi golfers have a close affinity with The Open, following Sir Bob Charles’ win back in 1963.

"Today’s announcement represents a real opportunity for another kiwi to compete for the Claret Jug” said Murphy.

Sir Bob Charles, who famously claimed the Claret Jug in 1963 over American Phil Rodgers and became the first kiwi to win a Major said he was "delighted" the R&A had recognised the NZ Open with the opportunity, "and I hope that we will see more Kiwis play in this historic event".

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