New Zealand Open moves to November
BY iseekgolf.com | Australasian PGA Tour | 2006 New Zealand Open | General | 26 Jul 2005
The New Zealand Open, this country’s premier golf tournament, is moving dates to better align itself with the major tournaments across the Tasman.
The 89th Open, now co-sanctioned with the Australasian and European Tours, will shift from its current January timeslot to November. This will allow the New Zealand event to slot in with three of Australia’s biggest tournaments – the Australian Open, Australian PGA and the Australian Masters.
New Zealand Golf believes the move offers considerable benefits for players, sponsors and public. And it has won support form US Open Champion Michael Campbell as well as both the Australian and European Tours.
New Zealand Golf said the move made good sense. The new date had been on the drawing board for 2007 but was brought forward following the demise of the Heineken Classic in Australia.
“This left the New Zealand Open somewhat isolated,” New Zealand Golf Chief Executive Larry Graham said.
The dates saw the 2006 Open before other co-sanctioned events in the Middle East followed by the Johnnie Walker, which is scheduled for Perth for the next two years.
“We had some concerns with our January date because of the difficulty in guaranteeing availability of our leading players. With the Heineken event gone we were left on our own and it would have been difficult for the European players to come to New Zealand and then travel back to the Middle East followed by the Johnnie Walker in Perth.”
“The January date also clashed with family holiday time and can be difficult for sponsors. The new date should be more attractive from a viewpoint of sponsorship and corporate hospitality.”
Mr Graham said the new date offers excellent opportunity for the long term growth.
“There’s no clash with the US PGA Tour while the European Tour also believe it offers huge scope for their players.”
The Australasian PGA Tour believes the addition of a co-sanctioned event into the prime November-December period will help the marketability of the three key tournaments at a time when tournament golf in Australia is in full swing.
“The global environment in which the Australasian Tour now operates presents both wonderful opportunities and new challenges,” Australasian Tour CEO, Andrew Georgiou said.
“Recent developments both domestically and internationally point clearly to the reality that the long-term success of the New Zealand Open is far more secure in a November-December date.”
“The move of the European Tour events in the Middle East into January and February and the increasing concentration of Australasian players on the US Tour between them make compelling reasons for this change. The Australasian Tour is sure the new time frames will ensure the strongest possible fields and therefore greatest public interest.”
The exact date will be decided soon and will be tied to the swing of European Tour events in Asia, ensuring that the event is held at a time when European Tour players are in the region and are able to commit to travelling to New Zealand.
Source – NZGA