New Zealand Open
|Location||Queenstown, New Zealand|
|Course(s)||The Hills Golf Club and Millbrook Resort|
|Length||6596m (The Hills), 6560m (Millbrook)|
|Tour(s)||PGA Tour of Australasia
Japan Golf Tour
|Tournament record score|
|Aggregate||262 Rodger Davis (1986)|
In October 2014, BMW Group was announced as the naming rights sponsor for the 2015 BMW New Zealand Open.
The tournament, a tier one event on the PGA Tour of Australasia, will be held from March 12 to 15 at The Hills Golf Course and Millbrook Resort. The purse for the event will be NZ$1,000,000 which makes it one of the most lucrative New Zealand Opens in the history of the event that dates back to 1907.
A professional field of a maximum of 144 players maximum will play the first two rounds alternately at The Hills and Millbrook Resort before the second round cut of 60 and ties. The final two rounds of the championship will be played at The Hills. The BMW New Zealand Pro-Am Championship will run alongside to the main tournament. A maximum of 144 amateurs will partner with a professional and play in a best-ball format. After a second round cut the top 40 pro-am teams will progress to round three at The Hills, with a further cut to the top 10 Pro-Am teams who progress to play in the final round.
Well-known sporting celebrities Ricky Ponting, Stephen Fleming, Allan Border, Jeff Wilson, Mark Richardson, the host of The Amazing Race Phil Keoghan, celebrity chief Josh Emett and American TV personality Chris Judd all featured as celebrities taking part in the 2014 New Zealand Open. Prime Minister of New Zealand John Key also played in the final round of the 2014 New Zealand Open.
The tournament will be broadcast live in New Zealand by Sky Television and also in Japan to eight million homes through the Japan Golf Network.
The BMW New Zealand Open, in addition to being sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia, will continue its strong partnership with the Japan Golf Tour Organization (JGTO) in 2015. A total of 15 spaces will once again be reserved for leading JGTO professionals. The winner of the tournament (or, in the event it is won by an existing JGTO member, the leading non-exempt player) will be granted automatic entry into the 2014 Japan Golf Tour Championship and two further Japan Tour tournaments in 2014.
The scheduling change to February 2014 meant that no New Zealand Open was held in the 2013 calendar year. There have been three occasions of this in the history of the New Zealand Open (1990, 1999 and 2008) and all were due to the rescheduling of the tournament dates.
In 2012, the BMW New Zealand Open was hosted by The Clearwater Resort in Christchurch from December 1 - 4, and was promoted by New Zealand Golf. The 2011 championship was the first major sporting event to come to Christchurch since the earthquake in February, 2011. The tournament played an important role in the recovery of the Garden City injecting $4M annually into the city. Australian amateur Jake Higginbottom made history in 2012 when he became the first amateur to win the New Zealand Open since Harry Berwick in 1956.
The documented history of golf in New Zealand dates back to 1871. The first national championship was played in 1893 and the New Zealand Open was founded in 1907. The first Open was a 36 hole event played at Napier Golf Club and was won by four times New Zealand amateur champion Arthur Duncan. In 1908 the tournament was extended to 72 holes, and was won by J.A. Clements, the first notable New Zealand born professional golfer.
There were no Opens in 1915–18 due to World War I. For the first 20 years amateurs often won, but as professionals began to dominate from around 1930, so the Bledisloe Cup for leading amateur was introduced in 1934.
The event was again cancelled from 1940 to 1945 due to World War II. In 1954 Bob Charles, who was later to become the only New Zealander to win a major championship in the 20th century, won as an 18-year-old amateur. He won again in 1966, 1971 and 1973, as a professional, and he and the two Australian major champions Peter Thomson and Kel Nagle dominated the event from the early 1950s to the mid-1970s. Other well known winners have included the American Corey Pavin in 1984 and 1985, and Michael Campbell in 2000. Campbell joined Charles as a major champion when he won the 2005 U.S. Open.
In 2002 Tiger Woods took part as a thank you to his New Zealand caddie Steve Williams, but he did not win. His participation caused some controversy when ticket prices were raised sharply that year.
The New Zealand Open is a PGA Tour of Australasia tournament, and in 2005 was co-sanctioned for the first time by the more prestigious European Tour, which led to a doubling of the prize fund to 1.5 million New Zealand Dollars. The European Tour had co-sanctioned PGA Tour of Australasia events before, but they had all been in Australia, making this the tour's first ever visit to New Zealand. In 2006 the event was moved to November, taking its place on the European Tour schedule for the following calendar year. The 2007 event was the last to be co-sanctioned by the European Tour, and with the tournament being rescheduled to March, there was also no New Zealand Open on the 2008 Australasian Tour. The 2009 and 2010 tournaments were also co-sanctioned by the Nationwide Tour, the official development tour of the PGA Tour. Since 2011 it has been solely sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia.
- (a) denotes amateur
- Official website
- Coverage on the PGA Tour of Australasia's official site
- Coverage on the Nationwide Tour's official site
- Coverage on the European Tour's official site