Brad Kennedy celebrates after winning the 2020 New Zealand Golf Open at Millbrook Resort
Organisers of next year’s New Zealand Open have cancelled the event because of uncertainty over the coronavirus pandemic.
The tournament was scheduled to be held on two courses in the South Island town of Queenstown in February.
“We are extremely disappointed to have had to come to this decision,” organising committee chairman John Hart said in a statement on Thursday.
“But the effects of the pandemic, borders being closed, and the financial risk associated with a potential later cancellation due to any further Covid-19 outbreaks means we have no other alternative other than to cancel this event now.”
Hart said they had expected up to 300 people from overseas to attend the tournament.
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New Zealand has closed its borders to anyone but returning citizens or permanent residents and while overseas visitors can apply for an exemption, they must meet stringent conditions and are rarely granted.
All arrivals must also still undergo 14-days isolation with short-term visitors charged for their stay in government-run facilities.
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The cancellation of the New Zealand Open follows that of Australia’s four major golf tournaments, all of which were also scheduled for February.
Gleneagles has been announced as the venue for The Senior Open presented by Rolex in 2022, the first time the Scottish course has hosted a senior major.
Gleneagles hosted Europe’s Ryder Cup victory at 2014 and Europe’s dramatic Solheim Cup success in 2019, with the iconic venue also previously playing host to 26 European Tour events since 1974.
The event will be one of three majors in Scotland that summer, with The 150th Open scheduled to be held at St Andrews a week earlier and the AIG Women’s Open that year taking place at Muirfield.
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Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, executive director – Championships at The R&A, said: “This is another great ‘first’ in the history of The Senior Open and we could not be more thrilled to be staging the championship on The King’s Course at Gleneagles.
“With such a strong pedigree in hosting championships, The King’s is a fine test of golf and we know the players will relish the opportunity to play there.
“Adding another renowned venue to the roster is a clear indication of the continuing development of The Senior Open and I’m sure there will be a real sense of anticipation among the players and fans for our first visit to Gleneagles in two years’ time.”
Sunningdale Golf Club hosts the 2021 contest, a year on from the Championship being cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with the 35th edition then taking place on the King’s Course at Gleneagles from July 21-24, 2022.
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Ross McGowan’s Italian Open success, Bryson DeChambeau’s added distance and golf’s accessibility issues all feature in the latest Sky Sports Golf podcast.
McGowan joins Mark Roe, Zane Scotland and host Josh Antmann to reflect on his one-shot victory in Italy and discuss how he celebrated ending an 11-year winless run on the European Tour.
The 38-year-old goes through the key shots from his final round at Chervo Golf Club and talks about some of the tougher times he has experienced in his career before his return to the winner’s circle.
The rest of the panel look back at Patrick Cantlay’s win at the Zozo Championship and throw plenty of praise in the direction on Bianca Pagdanganan, who impressed during the LPGA Drive On Championship.
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The guests look at DeChambeau’s social media post of him hitting a 403-yard carry and try to work out how his added distance could benefit him at the Masters next month, with plenty of debate about what can be done to limit the increasing hitting distances within the sport.
Scotland opens up about his experiences of discrimination in golf and offers plenty of solutions and ideas on how to make the game accessible for everybody, while the guests also offer their predictions for this week’s Cyprus Open and Bermuda Championship.
The Vodcast version is out now on Sky Sports On Demand, with the show also on Sky Sports Golf this Wednesday from 7pm and 10pm.