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Swapping codes: Former All Black Israel Dagg is hosting his own golf open in Queenstown in September. PICTURE: MICHAEL THOMAS

By PHILIP CHANDLER

Former All Black rugby star Israel ‘Izzy’ Dagg’s hosting a Queenstown golf tournament to
promote both golf and domestic tourism.

‘Dagg’s Queenstown Open’ is running in conjunction with All Blacks Tours over the weekend of September 19/20, with a warm-up at the Arrowtown golf course, two rounds at Millbrook Resort and a dinner hosted by the man himself.

Dagg, who had 66 games for the ABs and scored 26 tries, played in the New Zealand Open pro-am at Millbrook and The Hills over the past two summers.

‘‘It’s the greatest event, man, I love it,’’ he tells Mountain Scene.

‘‘It’s always a fun week playing on the best golf courses, I reckon, in NZ that are in the greatest nick, and you’re surrounded by pros that are playing absolutely amazing golf.’’

Christchurch-based, Hawke’s Bay-raised Dagg’s a huge fan of Queenstown.

‘‘We’re very lucky in NZ to have that on our doorstep, so every opportunity I get I go down.’’

His next trip’s a family skiing holiday in a month’s time.

He says All Blacks Tours, which normally sells packages for fans to see the ABs, approached him about hosting a Queenstown tournament.

‘‘I said, ‘mate, why not, let’s do it’, and obviously with Covid-19 we want to get people out there and helping the tourism sector.

‘‘It’s not a full-noise golf tournament, we’re just going to get out and have fun and hopefully the weather’s good and the wine flows.’’

At the dinner, ‘‘basically people can just ask me a few things they want to know and I’ll
probably tell the truth — mostly’’.

Dagg says about 25 people have signed up so far — the three-night package is from $1595 for golfers and $1095 for non-golfers — and he’s already had some ‘‘bloody awesome’’
Instagram banter with would-be tournament-goers.

Referring to his career-ending knee injury, one wrote: ‘‘I’m going to end your golf career
like you ended your rugby career.’’

Nowadays a Sky Sport rugby commentator, Dagg says he’s had a lot of time to play golf since retiring last year, and also has sponsored gear, ‘‘so no excuses’’.

‘‘My golf’s not too bad — I’m off about a 4.1 — but the other day I got brought right down to reality, I shot 95.’’

But if he keeps up his form at this year’s NZ Open, he could be in contention at his own Open: ‘‘I made three days out of the four and just missed the last day by one shot.’’

He’s also likely to get pre-tournament lessons from local-based pro, Ben Campbell.

‘‘He walked around with me and ‘Beaudy’ [All Black star Beauden Barrett] at the NZ Open and gave us some good tips.’’

scoop@scene.co.nz