New Zealand’s favourite golfing son Sir Bob Charles with 2019 champion Zach Murray
The New Zealand Open Golf Championship, Presented by Sky Sports, continues to defy the trend of professional golf events in this region, increasing its prizemoney by 12 percent for the 2020 championship, the total for the event itself $NZ1.4 million with an additional $NZ50,000 available for the pro-am aspect of the event.
When the event moved to Queenstown in 2014 and adopted the pro-am format as a means of rebuilding the championship to a level of sustainability, it carried prizemoney of $NZ850,000.
The increase since, therefore, speaks to the growth of the event and its popularity, not only in terms of the professional field but also the jam packed field of amateurs who have played such a key role in the New Zealand Open being the success it has become.
Now jointly sanctioned between the PGA Tour of Australasia and Asian Tour and sharing a special partnership with the Japan Tour, the New Zealand Open, one of the world’s oldest professional events, has also played a key role in the promotion of New Zealand and more specifically the Queenstown region as a golfing destination.
After a period of instability through the 2000’s with the controversial visit of Tiger Woods in 2002 and the joint sanctioning with Europe of the event in 2005, 2006 and 2007, followed by a period jointly sanctioned with the Nationwide Tour, the New Zealand Open needed reviving.
The introduction of a Alfred Dunhill Links style format, while controversial initially, has proven a tremendous success and the regular growth in prize-money is clear evidence of just that.
Tournament organisers have never been lulled into the payment of appearance money at any stage and have stuck rigidly to that. While the event has therefore been unable to attract the superstars of the game it has found its place as, arguably, the most popular on the PGA Tour of Australasia schedule and ensured the New Zealand Open has continued its remarkable legacy in Australasian golf.