6 Dec 2011 - Paul Gunn
Auckland Today at The Cloud in Auckland, Prime Minister, John Key, launched the inaugural NZ PGA Pro-Am Championship. The tournament, a partnership between the NZ PGA and The Hills, (owned by Sir Michael Hill) has been agreed for a minimum five year term and will initially be part of the Australasian PGA Tour with total prize money of $500,000 in 2012. Next year's tournament will be played between Thursday 29th March and Sunday 1st April at The Hills in Queenstown.
Inspired by the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, one of the most prestigious events on the European tour, the event builds on the long established NZ PGA Championship, first played for in 1920.
Professionals will play for the NZ PGA Championship over four rounds, but in a unique event format, 64 invited amateurs and celebrities will be each paired with one of the 64 professionals that make the cut, playing together as a team for the NZ PGA Pro-Am Championship over the final two days.
John Hart, NZ PGA Pro-Am Organising Committee Chairman, explains why he and his team felt inspired to bring this format to New Zealand.
"Several years ago I was lucky enough to play in the Dunhill and I absolutely loved it - the combination of getting to play alongside some of the world's best golfers and well known celebrities in the heat of a professional tournament was an amazing opportunity. The NZ PGA and The Hills believe that this format will be very attractive in New Zealand, promoting the game of golf and providing excellent leverage opportunities for both business and tourism at home and abroad.
Sir Michael said, "We have been delighted with the support we have received from both the private and the public sector and look forward to working with our partners to develop an iconic event that New Zealanders can be proud of in one of the World's finest tourist destinations, Queenstown."
The major sponsors for the event to date are: Air New Zealand, The Hilton Hotel Queenstown, Michael Hill Watches, New Zealand Major Events, Sky City Entertainment, and Ultimate Hikes New Zealand.
NZ PGA Pro-Am Championship Communications Manager,
Tel: 027 440 9964 Paul@gunncommunications.co.nz