11 Oct 2012 - NZPGA
Auckland – At a media launch today held in Auckland and attended by the Prime Minister, the Chairman of the NZ PGA Championship organising committee Mr John Hart, outlined some exciting plans for next years event.
Following the unqualified success of the 2012 NZ PGA Championship and the introduction of a unique pro-am tournament format, next year’s event will once again be held at the magnificent The Hills golf course in Queenstown from Thursday, February 28th to Sunday, March 3rd 2013.
The success and interest generated from the 2012 tournament has lead to increased support from the Government, via the Major Events Development Fund and returning major sponsors Hilton Hotel Queenstown, Michael Hill, Milford Track Guided Walks, Rebel Sport, Sky City Entertainment, and a new major sponsor for 2013, Westpac.
The Prime Minister, the Rt Hon. John Key, announced an investment from the Major Events Development Fund of $650,000. The purpose of the Fund is to ensure major events in New Zealand contribute to vibrant communities and culture, a high-value economy and a flourishing events sector.
“We are delighted with the support we have received from our major partners in this event,” said John Hart.
As a result the prize money for the 2013 tournament has been increased by 20% from $500,000 to $600,000 - which moves the tournament to Tier 1 one status on the PGA Tour of Australasia. It is expected that the increased prize money, resulting tier one status (and increased Official World Golf Ranking points that come with it), plus the earlier February date will help to attract an even stronger international line up than the excellent field assembled in 2012. Tournament organisers can already confirm defending champion Kiwi Michael Hendry and top Australian golfer Brendan Jones (a two time winner on the prestigious Japan Golf Tour this year) to play in the 2013 event.
In an added attraction for sports fans the 2013 NZ PGA Championship coincides with the touring England cricket team playing a New Zealand XI in a four day match at the Queenstown Events Centre.
The timing of the two events has meant that the NZ PGA Championship has been able to attract international cricketing celebrities, Sir Ian Botham and Tony Greig to play in the pro-am.
The flamboyant Sir Ian, known for his clean hitting on the cricket pitch, was thrilled to be involved in the tournament.
He said, “Having played regularly in the Dunhill Tournament at St Andrews, including only last week, I am absolutely delighted to have been invited to play in the New Zealand equivalent at The Hills in Queenstown next year.
“I look forward to once again returning to Queenstown, taking in the sights, sampling the fantastic local wines and food, playing golf in the NZ PGA Championship and supporting my beloved England cricket team. This is something I could not miss.”
Further celebrities and professional golfers will be announced over the coming months.
In a further innovation for next year’s tournament NZ PGA Championship organisers will host a concert featuring local New Zealand talent at The Hills on the Saturday evening following the completion of the golf and the cricket.
John Hart, said, “We are excited about the potential this tournament has to become a significant annual event on the New Zealand sporting calendar. The unique format of the tournament, which involves amateurs and celebrities playing alongside leading Professionals in an iconic setting, provides an excellent opportunity for Government to achieve its aims of promoting Queenstown and New Zealand as world class tourist destinations as well as enhancing the development of business and trade contacts with targeted overseas markets in Australia and Asia.”
“We look forward to working with Queenstown and the wider South Island golfing community in growing this iconic event and welcoming fans from across New Zealand to The Hills.”