The New Zealand Open celebrates its 100thmilestone from February 28-March 3 2019 when the spotlight will again be on the prestigious tournament and its host golf courses, The Hills and Millbrook Resort.
Organisers say the Queenstown tournament is a chance to reflect on both the history and the significance of the landmark event.
“It is both an honour and a privilege to be involved in the running of the 100th New Zealand Open. The entire team working on this year’s tournament are proud to be given custody of such an iconic and historical event and this is not a responsibility we take lightly,” says New Zealand Open chairman John Hart. “We are totally committed to producing an event that not only befits the many that have gone before, but one which now sits proudly on the world golfing stage.”
Although competition golf began in New Zealand as far back as 1893 the inaugural New Zealand Open was not held until 1907. One hundred and thirty players competed in the event at the Napier Golf Club with the first championship title won by amateur legend A.D.S. (Arthur) Duncan.
To mark the Open’s anniversary, past champions will play in a special centennial competition on a new three-par course being constructed at The Hills, which is opening to coincide with the tournament.
Tournament director Michael Glading says the contest will be held on February 27 and is similar to a competition held at the Augusta Masters.
“We are hoping as many past New Zealand Open champions as possible will take part in this. It will be a great spectator event and it is another way for us to mark the history of the Open and recognise our golfing legends.”
Prominent Kiwi golfer, Sir Bob Charles, four times winner of the New Zealand Open and the oldest player, at 71 years, to make the cut in an official European tour event at the 2007 New Zealand Open at The Hills, will be amongst the line-up of former champions. Sir Bob is the oldest living titleholder and will join other standout players, including Greg Turner, Michael Hendry, David Smail, Matt Griffin, Brad Kennedy and the 2018 winner Daniel Nisbet.
Leading New Zealand professional Ryan Fox who plays on the European Tour and PGA Tour of Australasia is expected to have one of the largest galleries at the 2019 New Zealand Open.
Tournament director Michael Glading says Fox is currently ranked in the top 100 in the world and having him play in the event has been an absolute priority.
“Ryan is to men’s golf in New Zealand, what Lydia Ko is to women’s.”
The New Zealand Open is co- sanctioned with the PGA Tour of Australasia and the Asian Tour and has a partnership agreement with the Japan Tour, allowing them 20 professional playing spots.