New Zealand Open to switch dates in 2006
New Zealand Open will be put back from January to November next
year to better align itself with tour dates in Australia.
The tournament is co-sanctioned by the Australasian and European
tours and the switch will allow it to blend in better alongside
the Australian Open, the Australian PGA and the Australian Masters.
The decision to move the tournament was brought forward following
the demise of Australia's Heineken Classic.
"This left the New Zealand Open somewhat isolated," New
Zealand Golf chief executive Larry Graham said in a statement on
the organisation's website.
"We had some concerns with our January date because of the
difficulty in guaranteeing availability of our leading players.
"With the Heineken event gone we were left on our own and
it would have been difficult for the European players to come to
New Zealand and then travel back to the Middle East followed by
the Johnnie Walker in Perth.
"The January date also clashed with family holiday time and
can be difficult for sponsors.
"The new date should be more attractive from a viewpoint of
sponsorship and corporate hospitality.
"There's no clash with the U.S. PGA Tour while the European
Tour also believe it offers huge scope for their players."
Sweden's Niclas Fasth, who won the Players Championship of Europe
in Germany at the weekend, won the 2005 New Zealand Open.