A success story

Hardly had the last golf ball been teed off at the NZPGA Pro-am Cham­pi­onship, than plan­ning had be­gun for this

Central Otago Mirror - - FEATURES -

The goal was to see the 2013 event build on its success in the pre­vi­ous year. It wasn’t un­til Oc­to­ber 2012 at a me­dia launch in Auck­land, at­tended by the Prime Min­is­ter, the Rt Hon John Key, that plans for the 2013 NZPGA Cham­pi­onship were out­lined. Or­gan­is­ing Com­mit­tee Chair­man John Hart said that fol­low­ing the un­qual­i­fied success of the 2012 NZPGA Cham­pi­onship, and the in­tro­duc­tion of a unique pro-am tour­na­ment for­mat, he could con­firm that the event would again be held at the The Hills in Queen­stown, the dates Thurs­day, Fe­bru­ary 28 to Sun­day, March 2013. Im­por­tantly, the success and in­ter­est gen­er­ated from the 2012 tour­na­ment led to in­creased sup­port from the Government, via the Ma­jor Events Devel­op­ment Fund and re­turn­ing ma­jor spon­sors Hil­ton Ho­tel Queen­stown, Michael Hill, Mil­ford Track Guided Walks, Rebel Sport, Sky City En­ter­tain­ment, and a new ma­jor spon­sor for 2013, West­pac. The Prime Min­is­ter an­nounced an in­vest­ment from the Ma­jor Events Devel­op­ment Fund of $650,000. The pur­pose of the fund is to en­sure ma­jor events in New Zealand con­trib­ute to vi­brant com­mu­ni­ties and cul­ture, a high-value econ­omy and a flour­ish­ing events sec­tor. ‘‘We are de­lighted with the sup­port we have re­ceived from our ma­jor part­ners in this event,’’ said Hart. As a re­sult, the prize money for the 2013 tour­na­ment has been in­creased by 20 per cent from $500,000 to $600,000 - which moves the tour­na­ment to Tier 1 one sta­tus on the PGA Tour of Aus­trala­sia. It was ex­pected that the in­creased prize money, re­sult­ing tier one sta­tus (and in­creased Of­fi­cial World Golf Rank­ing points that come with it), plus the ear­lier Fe­bru­ary date would at­tract an even stronger in­ter­na­tional line up than the ex­cel­lent field as­sem­bled in 2012. In an added at­trac­tion for sports fans, the 2013 NZPGA Cham­pi­onship co­in­cides with the tour­ing Eng­land cricket team play­ing a New Zealand XI in a four-day match at the Queen­stown Events Cen­tre. The tim­ing of the two events means the NZPGA Cham­pi­onship has been able to at­tract in­ter­na­tional crick­et­ing celebrity, Sir Ian Botham to play in the pro-am. The flam­boy­ant Sir Ian was thrilled to be in­volved in the tour­na­ment. He said, ‘‘Hav­ing played reg­u­larly in the Dun­hill Tour­na­ment at St An­drews I am ab­so­lutely de­lighted to have been in­vited to

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