The New Zealand Open will be co-sanctioned by the Australasian Tour and the USPGA Tour’s Nationwide Tour for at least the next two years after cutting ties with the European Tour.
New Zealand Golf also announced next year’s tournament, the 91st Championship, would take place between March 12-15 at The Hills in Arrowtown near Queenstown after an increasingly cluttered international calendar forced a switch from the traditional November-December period.
The two-year co-sanctioning agreement with the Nationwide Tour, with the opportunity for a further two years, was a key factor in the decision to sever ties with the European Tour, who have co-sanctioned the tournament for the last three years.
New Zealand Golf chief executive Bill MacGowan said the European Tour had only offered another year of co-sanctioning and no guarantees after that, which had prompted discussions with other tours.
“This gives us real certainty for our flagship championship, which means we can put plans in place going forward with real certainty,” said MacGowan.
“We have a number of New Zealand and Australian players on the Nationwide Tour and success at the Open offers an exciting career pathway for a young player to realise his dreams.”
The New Zealand Open will follow the Moonah Classic near Melbourne and the New Zealand PGA Championship at Clearwater, near Christchurch and will carry a prize purse of US dollars 600,000.
“The Nationwide Tour has been coming to Australia and New Zealand since 2004 and they are popular stops for the Tour and our players,” said Nationwide Tour president Bill Calfee.
“To add the New Zealand Open to our schedule is excellent and we are certainly looking forward to The Hills course and the wonderful Queenstown area, which I’m sure will prove popular with our players.”