Queenstown’s Jack’s Point bosses are making their golf course available for the New Zealand Open if Michael Hill’s Arrowtown course fails to get the nod.
John Griffin, Jack’s Point’s golf director, says he indicated his local resort’s interest in hosting The Open to event promoter Tuohy Associates last December.
“If Michael’s venue wasn’t available, Jack’s Point would certainly make its venue available to stage the Open, as we’d want to continue to showcase golf in the region,” Griffin says.
Griffin says he still hopes The Hills wins the event saying it’s been a success.
Former golf tour pro Greg Turner doesn’t like jewellery magnate Hill’s chances.
Hill’s deal to host and sponsor three Opens at his private golf course near Arrowtown expired with the latest event in January.
He’s made it clear he’d like Government financial support for another Open, but Turner bases his hunch on politics, not money.
“I don’t know the way [NZ Golf] is going to jump, but knowing the politics of the whole thing, I’d be surprised if it’s towards Michael.
“I doubt it’s any single reason.
“There are probably some issues in terms of the way the event’s been run that I’m not sure Michael was terribly happy with, and I think he would have wanted more control over some of those areas.”
Queenstowner Turner – on the Australasian Tour board – supports The Open at The Hills.
“I think it’s been successful there and I think it’s got its best chance of being continually successful there.”
Dean Murphy, NZ Golf’s acting chief executive, told the Sunday Star-Times his organisation was “having a good look at” at least three other courses. He hoped to announce a venue this week along with a tour-sanctioning partner – the past two Opens have been co-sanctioned by the US Nationwide Tour.
David Onions, the boss of Millbrook Resort, near The Hills, says his course isn’t a contender.
In The Cut magazine, departing NZ Golf board member Geoff Saunders suggests the venue’s a toss-up between
The Hills and Christchurch’s Clearwater.
Turner: “I don’t think there’s a problem finding a host, I think the problem’s finding the money to go with that.”
He even entertains the prospect there won’t be an NZ Open next summer: “It wouldn’t surprise me if there isn’t.”