Team behind NZ Open ‘determined’ as tournament pushed back to end of March

Millbrook Resort. Photo: ODT files
Millbrook Resort. Photo: ODT files
Next year’s New Zealand Open has been pushed back to the end of March.

Tournament chairman John Hart said the 102nd edition of the Open, to have been held in late February, had been rescheduled for Arrowtown’s Millbrook Resort, between March 31 and April 3, to allow for the best possible field to compete, and give the tournament the best chance of being staged.

Due to Covid-19, the Open was not held this year — the first time it had been cancelled since wartime.

Committing to it, with no certainty of a transtasman bubble, could have resulted in a $4million loss for tournament co-host Millbrook Resort alone should Covid-19 force New Zealand, or parts of it, back into lockdown.

However, pulling the pin resulted in a loss of millions of dollars from the local economy, both through direct and indirect spending.

Hart said tournament organisers had been working with the PGA Tour of Australia and the Asian Tour to have their calendars accommodate a full playing tour for players, while acknowledging current border restrictions.

The Australian Open and the Australian PGA Championship had already been rescheduled, from November-December to January-February, and Hart said it was essential the New Zealand Open reduced any potential conflicts for players travelling between the countries.

"This new date avoids any tournament conflict for players, and while we have no certainty at present, we are hopeful that travel and quarantine restrictions and alert levels by that time will allow more freedom of travel between Australia and New Zealand, and hopefully even further afield.

"We are fully committed to holding the New Zealand Open next year at whatever level is possible, subject to Covid restrictions.

"At a time when event after event is being cancelled, the tournament underwriters, Millbrook Resort, are determined to do everything possible to stage the New Zealand Open in 2022, hopefully giving Queenstown and the greater Otago region, which has suffered severely during this Covid pandemic, a much-needed economic boost."

The Open will be played across 36 holes at Millbrook, including the new nine holes opening by year-end, and will be broadcast by Sky Sport and various networks overseas.

Hart said the date change would only apply to the 2022 event, and organisers intended to hold the 103rd Open in February 2023.

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