Clearwater ticked the boxes at NZ Open

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 28/11/2012
Jake Higginbottom
Photosport
BOTTOMS UP: Australian amateur golfer Jake Higginbottom displays the New Zealand Open and amateur trophies he won at Clearwater Golf course in Christchurch.

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The New Zealand Open could make Clearwater its long-term home.

New Zealand Golf chief executive Dean Murphy said he was again pleased with the tournament at Clearwater last week and it would take a special bid from another centre to make them think about leaving the Garden City.

This year's tournament was the second of a three-year deal.

No decision had been made regarding a host or date for the 2014 tournament and Murphy said that would not be addressed until next year's tournament was finished.

No course has ever held the open for more than five years in a row and Murphy would not rule out a semi-permanent home at Clearwater.

"Rotation has been a feature of the tournament for the last 94 tournaments and 105 years," he said.

"However, there are lots of tournaments around the world that stay in the same place. For now we're quite happy."

He said there were pressures to take the tournament elsewhere and other cities and courses wanted to play host, but their cases would need to be compelling for New Zealand Golf to consider a move.

Helping Christchurch's case is the New Zealand Women's Open being played at Clearwater, too. The first of two women's tournaments at Clearwater will be played early next year.

Having both opens at the same course had obvious infrastructure benefits and financial benefits, Murphy said.

Meanwhile, a date for next year's event will not be known until February or March. Changes to the PGA Tour schedule which push the lucrative end of season tournaments to later in the year are likely to mean scheduling changes for the Australian Tour.

If the Australian tournaments want some of the world's best players, including their own top players to come home as they have done in the past, the main tournaments on the Aussie calendar could have to move.

That suits the New Zealand Open and Murphy said a shift a couple of weeks either side of its current date appealed because it would end a clash with q-schools and end of season tournaments on other tours.

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