A stronger field and a greater certainty of proceeding are the driving forces behind the decision of tournament organisers to delay the 102nd staging of the New Zealand Open at the Millbrook Resort in Queenstown.
In conjunction with Golf New Zealand, the PGA Tour of Australasia and the Asian Tour, tournament organisers have confirmed that the NZ Open will now be played at Millbrook Resort from March 31-April 3.
Unable to be staged in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Brodie Breeze Trophy was originally scheduled to be contested from February 24-27 but with the Australian Open and Australian PGA Championship both being pushed back into early 2022, organisers recognised the benefits of delaying the tournament by a month.
“This new date avoids any tournament conflict for players, and whilst 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,” said tournament Chairman, Mr John Hart.
“We are fully committed to holding the New Zealand Open next year at whatever level is possible, subject to COVID restrictions allowing. Our team are currently in the planning phase to once again deliver a world-class event.
“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.”
Co-sanctioned with the Asian Tour – which has been on hiatus since the Bandar Malaysia Open in March 2020 – the return of the New Zealand Open at a new date further adds to a busy start to 2022 for the PGA Tour of Australasia.
“Obviously we would have preferred to begin our season as originally planned but the exciting element is that we now look like having a three-month run of tournaments for our players to begin 2022,” said PGA Tour of Australia Tournaments Director Australasia, Nick Dastey.
“We are very appreciative that Golf New Zealand and Millbrook Resort have delayed the NZ Open by a month because it gives us the best chance to get as many of our leading players as possible to Queenstown and deliver a tournament that such a championship deserves.”
The New Zealand Open, which will be played across 36 holes at Millbrook Resort (including the new nine opening shortly), will be broadcast by Sky Sport in New Zealand and through various networks internationally, showcasing the best of Queenstown and New Zealand to the world.
This date change will apply to the 2022 event only, with the intention that the 103rd New Zealand Open be held in February 2023.
The tournament is a co-sanctioned event on the PGA Tour of Australasia and Asian Tour schedules and has a partnership agreement with the Japan Golf Tour.
A professional field will play the first two rounds alternately at Millbrook Resort’s Coronet and Remarkables courses. The final two rounds will be played on the Coronet course (incorporating the closing par-3 from the Remarkables course).
The tournament also hosts amateur players, each partnering with a Professional in a two-man best-ball event, competing for the NZ Pro-Am Championship.
- Tony Webeck