New Zealand Golf Magazine
2021 NEW ZEALAND OPEN CANCELLED
Organisers of the New Zealand Open have made the decision to cancel the 2021 tournament that was scheduled to be played at Millbrook Resort and The Hills from 25-28 of February.
This is the first time the NZ Open has been cancelled since wartimes, some may say Covid-19 is the war of our generation. First played in Napier in 1907, between 1915 and 1918 it was cancelled due to World War 1 and again from 1940 to 1945 due to World War 2.
The Chairman of the Organising Committee, Mr John Hart, confirmed the cancellation, due to the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic and the related health and financial risks.
“We are extremely disappointed to have had to come to this decision but the effects of the pandemic, borders being closed, and the financial risk associated with a potential later cancellation due to any further Covid-19 outbreaks means we have no other alternative other than to cancel this event now,” Hart said in a statement.
“With up to 300 international participants coming from offshore (including professional players, amateur players, caddies, and officials of our Tour partners (the PGA Tour of Australasia, the Asian Tour and the Japan Golf Tour), we need absolute certainty now in terms of accessibility to New Zealand and this is clearly not possible.
“We would like to thank Millbrook Resort (the tournament underwriter), The Hills, Government, the Queenstown Lakes District Council, and our many commercial partners, both domestic and international, led by our presenting sponsor Sky Sport for their support and understanding.
“Further thanks go to our Tour partners, New Zealand Golf, our professional players, our sold-out amateur field, and our amazing volunteer force.”
The cancellation of the New Zealand Open follows announcements in the past 10 days of the cancellation of Australia’s four major golf tournaments; the Australian Men’s Open, the Australian Women’s Open, the Australian PGA Championship, and the Victorian Open, all similarly planned for February 2021.
“This is not a decision we have made lightly, and we are particularly disappointed for the Queenstown region who have suffered many setbacks during this Covid-19 era,” Hart said.
“We are very proud of what we have created with the New Zealand Open becoming one of New Zealand’s most recognised and applauded international sporting events.
“We remain very committed to once again showcasing the very best of Queenstown and New Zealand in February 2022 at a time when hopefully we will all be operating in a more certain and safer environment.”
Tournament Director Michael Glading said they had left the decision to as late as possible in the hope that a trans-Tasman bubble would eventuate with Australia but they couldn’t hold on forever.
“We might look back in four months time and say, ‘man, we got that decision wrong’, but I think all you can do is make the decision now, based on what you know now,” Glading said to Otago Daily Times.
The 102nd New Zealand Open will now be played between 17th and 20th February 2022.