The New Zealand Open, which was “back in play” after a two year hiatus due to covid, concluded last weekend with 48 year old Australian, Brendan Jones claiming the title at Millbrook Resort in Queenstown.
Speaking after the event, Tournament Chairman John Hart said that having the tournament back is a great thing for not only all New Zealand Sporting fans, but also for the tourism and hospitality sectors in Queenstown.
“We are delighted to have been able to return after a few years away. It’s been a tough few years, but we are very happy to be back and delighted with how the tournament week unfolded.”
“The support we have received from not only our fantastic family of sponsors but the tournaments partners, players and volunteers has been heart-warming for everyone involved” said Hart.
“I would also like to extend my sincere thanks to the people of Queenstown and Arrowtown who have supported this event, not only this year but for the previous nine tournaments that have been held in the area.”
“We love Queenstown, and from the number of spectators that were out on course, we know that Queenstown loves the New Zealand Open” said Hart.
2023 also marked 10 years since the change to its unique pro-am format, a concept initially trialled successfully with the NZPGA Championship in 2012 where paying amateurs playing alongside the professionals.
This has been a successful concept for several years at the AT&T in California on the PGA Tour and the Dunhill Links in Scotland on the DP World Tour.
Since the change to this format in Queenstown, prizemoney has almost quadrupled and this year professionals played for NZ$1.7m, with its status significantly increased as a Tier One event, co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia and the Asian Tour, and in partnership with the Japan Golf Tour.
“To be perfectly honest with you, this is the best-run golf tournament that I play anywhere in the world,” said Michael Hendry, the last New Zealander to win the New Zealand Open in 2017. “I have played in Majors. They are well run but at the same time they are so immense, it almost becomes a circus.”
“The size of this event, the great feel you get around the Village, it is just gorgeous down here. It is just such a great spot. The organisers do such a good job running the event and it is great to be back.”
Brendon Jones, who claimed the 2023 New Zealand Open and has won 15 times in Japan, is a long-time fan of the New Zealand Open in Queenstown.
“I love this tournament so much. What Michael Glading and John Hart have done with this event is exceptional. I tell everyone that I know what a fantastic event it is. I will always lend my support as long as they want me to come and play,” said Jones.
The tournament organisers have also developed significant support and interest from overseas, with the large majority of tournament funders coming from international companies and individuals.
With the long-term support from event backers, Millbrook Resort, the tournament is looking towards further development and sure to continue its popularity with players and sponsors alike.