24 Dec 2012 - NZPGA
World and Olympic rowing champion Mahe Drysdale will swap his oars for a set of golf clubs at the NZPGA Championship in Queenstown next year.
Fresh from his announcement that he plans to defend his Olympic title at the 2016 Games in Rio, Drysdale has also committed to playing the event at The Hills. He has accepted an invitation from tournament partner Milford Track Walks.
Drysdale is a keen golfer, but has had to cut down his time on course since injuring his back in 2010. However, he still plays off a useful handicap of 15.7 and is looking forward to teeing up alongside the pros. The 24-year-old has also had a recent taste of golf at the Hills, shooting 91 on the par 72 course in October so he knows what he’s up against.
“It’s tough if you’re not straight. I think it rewards good golf and punishes bad golf, which in my books is a pretty perfect golf course”.
As for his game, Drysdale says his drive is a useful weapon, when he gets it right.
“When I connect and it goes straight it can go a long way but unfortunately it can also get me into a lot of trouble.
“I see lots of the course that I’m sure others have never seen before.”
Tournament officials are thrilled the Olympic rowing star has agreed to play the event. Organising Committee Chairman John Hart says it is fantastic news for the event.
“We are delighted we are to have such an iconic sportsman join our list of celebrity golfers. Mahe is an inspiration to young athletes around the country and he will be a huge drawcard on the fairways at The Hills.”
Other sporting celebrities confirmed in the tournament include cricketers Sir Ian Botham, Tony Greig and Mark Richardson, rugby stars Justin Marshall, George Gregan and Nick Farr-Jones as well as teenage golfing sensation Lydia Ko.