10 Feb 2012 - Source ODT - Olivia Caldwell
Organisers of the New Zealand PGA and celebrity golf championship are calling for Queenstown to get in behind the event as they hope to sign up the tournament's first Hollywood star.
Sir Michael Hill, Sir Bob Charles, John Hart and New Zealand golf professional Phil Tataurangi showed up for the launch of The Hills' newest golf tournament, which will begin at the end of March.
With only seven weeks until tee-off, tournament director John Hart said they would soon be announcing a Hollywood star to add to the list of celebrity guests.
Mr Hart said he was confident that by March 29 they would be able to field top-profile golfing professionals and celebrities for the tournament which will host 132 players, celebrities and amateurs.
"As soon as you mention Queenstown and The Hills, you get a smile. People want to play here."
He said 60 of the 64 celebrity and amateur spots had been filled and New Zealand pros Tataurangi and Lydia Ko were on the list, with a player in the top 100 still to be announced.
"It will be the first time we have had a player in the top 100 playing here at The Hills in a very long time.
"With Sir Bob to play as a celebrity and Lydia as a pro, I think the age spectrum is pretty well sussed.""Soon we will be able to announce a Hollywood star."
The former All Black coach said it was important for Queenstown to support the event through marketing in the next seven weeks.
"This is not a Hills venture; it's a venture of a group of people who are creating a great event for Queenstown.
"This event has a lot wider appeal than people realise."
He said the tournament would have a "wide-ranging corporate appeal" that New Zealanders would find "very attractive".
Mr Hart said the tournament was not about throwing a cheque to celebrities to entice them, but the aim was to make a name for the tournament in order to get the stars interested.
"We have got to create something where people want to come.
"We are not promising everything in tournament one, but we can guarantee we will host an excellent event."
Sir Michael addressed guests, who included Queenstown Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden and Destination Queenstown chief executive Tony Everitt, and told them the event had potential to "showcase Queenstown" internationally.
"If we dare to dream what this golf tournament can do and put no boundary on our thinking, then we could produce something truly remarkable. We could achieve something truly inspirational."
Guest speaker Tataurangi said the tournament's unique style was a great opportunity for golfing enthusiasts to play alongside some of the country's and world's best golfers.
"No-one can pay any amount of money to run on the rugby field and receive a pass when the All Blacks are playing a test match.
"It is a very special opportunity we are sitting on to grow the game of golf in New Zealand."