Triple US Open champ Queenstown-bound

Last updated 18:00 05/12/2012
Hale Irwin
PGA Tour

ALL IN: US golfer Hale Irwin will play at the 2013 NZ PGA Championship at The Hills in Queenstown next year.

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Three-time US Open champion Hale Irwin is heading to Queenstown for the 2013 NZ PGA Championship at The Hills.

The World Golf Hall of Fame inductee has confirmed his place in February's event, which is in its second year hosted by Sir Michael Hill.

With 87 PGA Tour wins, Irwin, 67, was on the winning side of all five Ryder Cup matches he took part in between 1975 and 1991.

Continuing to be competitive on the Champions Tour - the American senior tour on which he is its most successful player - Irwin says he is looking forward to heading to New Zealand.

His son Steve, who qualified for the 2011 US Open, will also take part in the tournament.

"I cherish the opportunity to come to New Zealand to play in the NZ PGA Championship," Irwin said.

"To travel with my son Steve, play golf in Queenstown and then sample some of your renowned fishing and hospitality is too good to miss. I am really looking forward to it."

New Zealand golf icon Sir Bob Charles said he was looking forward to joining Irwin on the course again.

"Hale is a fantastic player and I've had the pleasure of walking the fairways of some of the world's greatest courses with Hale over the years, so I can't wait to show him around the Hills," Charles said.

Event director Michael Glading said securing a player with Irwin's credentials was important for the tournament and should help boost its international profile.

"Hale is a legend of the game and we believe that he will be a major draw card for the NZ PGA Championship.

"To have a high-profile player of Hale's calibre confirmed in the tournament is fantastic. It speaks volumes for the reputation that this unique tournament and our stunning venue is building in the golfing world."

Others already confirmed for the tournament include former England cricketer Sir Ian Botham, world number one women's amateur Lydia Ko, Australian professional Brendan Jones, and defending champion Michael Hendry.

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