Hale Irwin to play NZPGA

BY NZPGA | 05 Dec 2012

The New Zealand PGA Championship, which proved such a success on its return to the Australasian Tour earlier this year, received yet another boost today when one of the game’s great players of the modern era, Hale Irwin, was announced as a participant in the 2013 event.

The three time US Open winner and World Golf Hall of Fame member has been confirmed to play at the Hills near Arrowtown in Central Otago beginning on February the 28th.

With a career that has spanned more than four decades and includes wins in three majors, 20 PGA Tour and 45 Champions Tour events, Irwin will undoubtedly be a major draw card for golfing fans.

Irwin continues to be highly competitive and is the most successful player in Champions Tour history where he has amassed 208 top 10 finishes – including 45 wins, 43 second place, and 23 third place finishes. Since turning 65 in 2010, Irwin has shot his age or better on seven occasions in Champions Tour events.

Hale Irwin will be joined at the Hills in the NZ PGA Championship field by his son Steve, who qualified for the 2011 US Open at the Congressional County Club in Bethesda, Maryland.

“I cherish the opportunity to come to New Zealand to play in the NZ PGA Championship. To travel with my son Steve, play golf in Queenstown and then sample some of your renowned fishing and hospitality is too good to miss. I am really looking forward to it”, said Irwin.

One player who knows Irwin well and has played alongside him many times is Sir Bob Charles, who is looking forward to joining Hale on the fairways once again.

“Hale is a fantastic player and I’ve had the pleasure of walking the fairways of some of the world’s greatest courses with Hale over the years, so I can’t wait to show him around the Hills.”

Sir Bob has a unique perspective of Irwin’s talents as he held the record for the most top ten finishes on the Champions Tour until 2011, when Irwin tied for 4th at the 2011 U.S. Senior Open and eclipsed Sir Bob’s record of 203.

Event Director Michael Glading is also thrilled to have such a high profile golfer confirmed in the line up.

“Hale is a legend of the game and we believe that he will be a major drawcard for the NZ PGA Championship. To have a high profile player of Hale’s calibre confirmed in the tournament is fantastic. It speaks volumes for the reputation that this unique tournament and our stunning venue is building in the golfing world.”

Other high profile golfers and sporting celebrities confirmed in the tournament include cricketer Sir Ian Botham, World Amateur Number One Lydia Ko, Australian professional Brendan Jones, and defending champion Michael Hendry – with more players to be announced over the coming months.

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