Rocco Mediate to play in NZ Open at The Hills

FRED WOODCOCK
Last updated 18:30 22/12/2013

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The New Zealand Open in Queenstown has received a boost with news that colourful US Champions Tour golfer Rocco Mediate will join the field next year.

Mediate, best known for his play-off loss to Tiger Woods in the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines, was awarded the 'rookie of the year' title for his first year on the Champions Tour in 2013.

The American won his first Champions Tour event n February and added a second later in the year. His Champions Tour winnings in his debut year totalled US$1.3 million.

Mediate has career earnings of US$16.6 million, having won six times on the PGA Tour and now twice on the Champions Tour.

Rocco posted his sixth PGA Tour victory at the Frys.com Open in 2010, aged 47 years 10 months, to become the oldest wire-to-wire winner on the PGA Tour since such records have been recorded.

In announcing his intention to play in the New Zealand Open, Mediate remarked on how much he looked forward to visiting New Zealand, a country he knew much about, but had never previously visited.

A self-confessed 'adrenaline junkie', Mediate will no doubt sample some of the many treats that the Queenstown region has to offer.

"I've never been to New Zealand; this is the first time, and we are looking forward to it. I can't wait, it's going to be cool.

"I've heard so much, and it's a great event, so it's just going to be a lot of fun".

Mediate is coming to New Zealand to try and win his first-ever event outside of North America.

An outgoing individual, Mediate will no doubt entertain the crowds in Queenstown, as he strives to become the New Zealand Open champion, a title he would undoubtedly treasure.

Tournament director Michael Glading expressed his delight with the signing of Mediate to come to play in the New Zealand Open.

"We had a wish-list of players we would like to play next year, and Rocco was right at the top of this list.

"He is a warm and friendly individual who will fit into the Pro-Am format really well, but above all, he remains a competitive force, who will be aiming to win the tournament".

The tournament, a tier one event on the PGA Tour of Australasia, will be held from February 27-March 2 at The Hills Golf Course and Millbrook Resort.

It will include a unique pro-am format played concurrently with the professional tournament following the principles established for the 2013 NZPGA Championship and the total prize purse for the event will be a minimum of $900,000.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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