The 102nd New Zealand Open is poised to become the latest victim of the coronavirus pandemic.

Australian Golf Digest understands the $1.5 million pro-am, set to return to Millbrook Resort and The Hills in Queenstown for the 10th time from February 25-28, will be taken off life-support at a stakeholder meeting scheduled next week.

Organisers have stalled a final decision in the hope of an unrestrictive trans-Tasman bubble opening up but are racing towards their self-imposed “drop dead deadline” of November 1 with little certainty in sight.

The cancellation of this summer’s Australian Open at Kingston Heath, Australian PGA Championship at Royal Queensland and Women’s Australian Open last week underlined the seemingly unsurmountable logistical hurdles and financial risk facing the NZ Open and principal underwriter Millbrook Resort. 

A video conference call with key stakeholders next week is likely to seal the fate of what had unwittingly become the PGA Tour of Australasia’s premier event of the summer, albeit for all of a week. 

Tournament Director Michael Glading confirmed the NZ Open had been working closely with the relative local and national authorities in the hope of staging New Zealand’s blue-riband tournament.

However, with no guarantees that the NZ Health Ministry’s strict 14-day quarantine policy won’t still be in place, coupled with the unforeseen but possible chance of further outbreaks of the virus, it appears the writing is in the wall.

“A final decision will be made towards the back end of next week,” Glading said. 

New Zealand’s premier tennis tournament, the ASB Classic scheduled for January, has already fallen victim to COVID-19. The likely cancellation of the NZ Open means yachting’s America’s Cup regatta and cricket tours by the West Indies, Pakistan, Australia and Bangladesh remain the only high-profile summer events still scheduled for Kiwi sports fans. 

It will be a particular hammer blow for Queenstown, the tourist hotspot struggling to keep the economic flame flickering given New Zealand’s tightly locked borders. 

Australian Golf Digest understands the prospect of NZ Open featuring only New Zealand-based players had been discussed but dismissed due to the cost and a desire not to devalue the global profile gains made since the Open shifted to Queenstown.

It is understood a similar February date for 2021 has been locked into the PGA Tour of Australasia’s 2022 schedule.