Michael Glading, NZ Open Tour­na­ment Di­rec­tor, Inc. gives some thoughts on golf to­day.

New Zealand Golf Magazine - - CONTENTS - WORDS MICHAEL GLADING

Of course, noth­ing changes, if an op­por­tu­nity presents it­self, a bud­ding young player must be good enough to take that op­por­tu­nity and max­imise it; again, Ryan is a great ex­am­ple of this, when ini­tially given few starts on the Euro­pean Chal­lenge Tour, he earnt enough money to get a full play­ing card the fol­low­ing year. It then took him two years to get on the main Euro­pean Tour, but now that he is there, what an im­pact he has made!

Too of­ten these days I hear young pros dream­ing of only one thing - get­ting in to the Tour, as a path­way to the PGA Tour. I have no is­sue with those that are good enough (and con­fi­dent enough) to take that route – Nick Voke be­ing a prime ex­am­ple.

But all play­ers de­velop at a dif­fer­ent pace, and hav­ing to grind out at the bot­tom rung of the web. com Tour, when other op­tions ex­ists, may well be a far bet­ter op­tion for bud­ding young Kiwi pro­fes­sion­als.

So much of the game is con­fi­dence, and miss­ing cuts and earn­ing no money is the fastest way to lose that con­fi­dence; we all know that golf is a game of con­fi­dence. I think it’s great to see play­ers like Harry Bate­man try and work his way up Ja­pan’s sec­ondary ‘Abema Tour’, and the likes of Luke Toomey, Fraser Wilkin, Camp­bell Raw­son, Mat Perry etc. work­ing their way through the dif­fi­cul­ties of play­ing in China.

Ben Camp­bell is now do­ing so well on the Asian Tour (ranked #36 at the time of writ­ing), and with a few good re­sults at the back end of 2018 could well find him­self get­ting starts in events that are co-sanc­tioned with the Euro­pean tour. Win one of those (which he is clearly good enough to do), and he im­me­di­ately joins the ‘big league’ with full Euro­pean Tour play­ing rights.

Aus­tralian Cameron Smith, now ranked #32 in the world, did ex­actly this. When he turned pro he did in­cred­i­bly well on the Asian tour, which earnt him the right to play in the co-sanc­tioned CIMB Clas­sic event in Malaysia. A 5th place fin­ish there won him the right to play in more PGA Tour events, and from there, he won his full PGA Tour play­ing rights – the rest is his­tory!

Which brings me to the 100th New Zealand Open, to be held in beau­ti­ful Queen­stown next March. Our move to co-sanc­tion with both the PGA Tour of Aus­trala­sia and the Asian Tour, re­ally does open the way for an­other young kiwi to launch him­self onto the world stage, if he can win, or earn enough money that week to get a good rank­ing on the Asian Tour.

The Asian Tour now has 33 events, a num­ber of which are co-sanc­tioned with the PGA Tour, the Euro­pean Tour and/or the Ja­pan Tour. Whilst pro­vid­ing a very healthy level of com­pe­ti­tion on the tour it­self, it also cre­ates enor­mous op­por­tu­ni­ties for Pros to win their way onto one of the other large tours as well.

Cre­at­ing player path­ways is so im­por­tant, and there is no doubt that the growth of the New Zealand Open in re­cent years has opened a door that hope­fully a num­ber of young up and com­ing Kiwi pro­fes­sion­als will march through with gusto!

Ben Camp­bell tees off dur­ing the Fiji In­ter­na­tional Golf Tour­na­ment on Au­gust 3, 2018 in Nata­dola, Fiji.

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