NZ Open tees off for 100th time
There are less than 100 days until the 100th New Zealand Open tees off on February 28 at Millbrook Resort and The Hills in Queenstown.
The New Zealand Open has attracted elite, international golf professionals to compete in this world-class tournament for many years.
Creating a springboard for local talent to advance their careers, this is a sport where New Zealand consistently punches above its weight, producing many world-class players.
Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club has played a significant role in the 100-tournament history of the New Zealand Open, which ranks as one of New Zealand’s oldest sporting events.
“Golf began on Paraparaumu Beach in the 1930s and from the 1950s onwards the golf course was regarded as world-class,” said tournament director Michael Glading, whose father won the title in 1946 and 1947.
“From its first open in 1959 to a further 11 times, Paraparaumu has hosted this event more than any other course in the country.
“From the late 1980s to early 2000s Paraparaumu held the New Zealand Open almost uninterrupted and was chosen to host the world’s reigning number one, Tiger Woods, in 2002.
“Ka¯ piti loves its golf and that’s reflected in the 100-tournament history.
“It’s also one of the few locations where historical photos of the open still exist.”
New Zealand professionals competing in 2019 include Ryan Fox, Steve Alker, Tim Wilkinson, Ben Campbell, as well as former champions Mike Hendry (2017), David Smail (2001) and Michael Long (1996).
These players, along with other golfing dignitaries, will celebrate this milestone and reflect on the great competition, careers, players and shots over the course of its history since the first open in 1907.
They will share their stories, trivia and memories in the buildup to a programme of events alongside this year’s open to mark the occasion.
This year’s international field includes many past champions, including last year’s winner Daniel Nisbet, Matt Griffin (2016), Jordan Zunic (2015) and Dimi Papadatos (2014).
At least 20 professionals from the Japan Tour and 30 from the Asian Tour will compete, guaranteeing plenty of worldclass competition to entertain crowds.
While only seven professionals teed off in 1907, 152 professional golfers will compete for the 2019 title and $1.3 million prize pool.
Simultaneously, a pairing of one professional and one amateur will play a best-ball format for the New Zealand ProAm Championship.
A Tier One event cosanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia and the Asian Tour, and in partnership with the Japan Golf Tour, the New Zealand Open’s Pro-Am format makes the New Zealand Open unique in the Asia-Pacific region.
With less than 100 days before the open, interest is hotting up.
According to New Zealand golfing legend Sir Bob Charles, “One hundred tournaments of the iconic New Zealand Open is something all Kiwis should feel proud of”.
“It is a phenomenal achievement for New Zealand sport and something that deserves celebrating.”
Peter Thomson, left, Bob Tuohy and Kel Nagle before the New Zealand Open at Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club in 1959.