One of New Zealand’s pre-eminent international events, the New Zealand Open, scheduled to be played March 31 to April 3 at Millbrook Resort, has been cancelled.
Organisers have reluctantly come to that decision due to the continued border entry restrictions for international players, coupled with the prohibitive restrictions operating under the current Red Traffic Light setting, which means it is no longer possible to hold the event in 2022.
Tournament chairman John Hart acknowledged that the challenges of putting on major events in New Zealand in the current environment had created barriers that cannot be overcome.
“We have done everything within our power to make this event happen,” Hart said. “However, with the current government restrictions in place, running an event that includes 250 players, 250 caddies, 500 volunteers, nearly 100 tournament staff and officials, plus numerous contractors, as well of course spectators, is just not possible.”
“After announcing in December that the New Zealand Open would proceed, including having direct entry into the prestigious 150th Open Championship at St Andrews for the leading three players, we are devastated to have now come to this decision.”
“We know how important this tournament is for the Queenstown Lakes region, tourism in New Zealand, and in particular for golf in New Zealand. We would like to thank our tournament partners and sponsors and in particular our underwriter Millbrook Resort for their unwavering support throughout the difficulties of the past few months.”
“We remain fully committed to the tournament and the Queenstown region and we are now setting our sights on holding the 102nd New Zealand Open in 2023.”
Golf New Zealand chief executive Dean Murphy noted the impact this decision will have on New Zealand professionals.
“We would like to thank Millbrook, our financial underwriters, who have supported the tournament in every way possible, in a concerted effort to proceed with the 2022 event, regardless of the many challenges thrown up by the COVID-19 environment,” Murphy said.
“This cancellation only adds to the extremely difficult past two years that many of the leading New Zealand professionals and leading elite amateur players have had. Opportunities have been severely limited, and we will be doing all we can in the immediate term to see if we can add a small event for domestic players, within the current restrictions, during the week that was set aside for the New Zealand Open.”
“It is also pleasing to know that both Millbrook and the supporting international golf tours have assured us of their ongoing support.”
The 102nd New Zealand Open will now be played from March 2-5, 2023, at Millbrook Resort and will include a full field of players from the PGA Tour of Australasia, the Asian Tour and the Japanese Tour.