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Sky Sport Invests in Future of NZ Golf Open

 The New Zealand Golf Open has a new long-term partnership agreement with Sky Sport, its broadcast partner since the premier golf event moved to Queenstown eight years ago.

Tournament chairman John Hart says it is good news that Sky is investing in the future of the event which is being staged at Millbrook Resort and The Hills golf courses from February 27 until March 1 2020.

“It’s pleasing to have such an iconic New Zealand company providing support for our tournament. Sky has been there from the start of our involvement with the event, and to now see them grow their part in it is both reassuring and gratifying,” he says.

“This commitment from Sky allows us to continue planning for a positive long-term future for the tournament as we strive to become one of the world’s pre-eminent Pro-Am events.”

Free Entry to Premiere Event For the first time, in 2020, the NZ Golf Open will be free to attend.

Tournament director Michael Glading says the move has been made to entice people from across the country to come and enjoy everything that the New Zealand Open has to offer.

“We’ve held the Open in Queenstown for eight consecutive years and as an event it’s reached the level of maturity and ongoing support that means we can enact this long-term strategy. While we’re making the event free entry there will be a charge for car parking with all proceeds going to a local charity.”

“We’re working alongside the Rotary Club of Queenstown to make this happen, using their manpower and volunteers, and they’ll nominate a deserving local recipient,” he says. “ As part of the evolution of the event we’ve always wanted the Open to have a larger charity element.”

“We want to see our local Queenstown, Arrowtown and Wanaka community bring their families and friends along and have a great day out at the golf. It also means visitors to town during the event have absolutely no reason not to come along.”

Since establishing in Queenstown, the Open has averaged around 15,000 to 20,000 visitors over the four days and Mr Glading hopes numbers will only increase with the free gate entry.

 Sustainability on the Horizon The New Zealand Golf Open is making significant progress towards becoming a fully sustainable event.

“It’s going to take two to three years to fully realise our goals, working alongside Millbrook Resort and The Hills, but we’re taking those first steps with the support of sponsors, players and our local council,” says tournament director Michael Glading.

“There’s plenty of precedent for this with major golf events around the world so we’re delighted to get this underway.”

 Headline Act Japanese pro Toshinori Muto, who is a favourite with both players and fans and a regular among the Japanese players who support the New Zealand Golf Open, returns for the 2020 event after a successful 12 months on the circuit.

The 41-year-old won the 2019 Panasonic Open Championship at Higashi Hirono Golf Club which was co-sanctioned with the Japan Golf Tour and the Asian Tour. It was his first victory on the Asian tour and his seventh Japan Tour career title.

Muto was the first of the current group of Japanese players to come to New Zealand for the Open and 2020 marks his eighth appearance at the tournament in Queenstown.

KEY Facts

  • The New Zealand Golf Open was founded in 1907 and will be played for the 101st time in 2020
  • The New Zealand Golf Open is a co-sanctioned event on the PGA Tour of Australasia and Asian Tour schedules and has a partnership agreement with the Japan Golf Tour
  • A professional field of 152 players will play the first two rounds alternately at Millbrook Resort and The Hills before the second round cut of 60 + ties
  • The final two rounds will be played at Millbrook Resort
  • The New Zealand Open Champion will be the leading player after 72 holes of stroke play