|Lindsey Wright, the 2012 event winner
New Zealand Golf and Event Promoters Tuohy Associates (NZ) announced today the ISPS Handa NZ Women’s Open hosted by Christchurch would return to the Clearwater Golf Club from February 8 - 10 in 2013.
With the ongoing support from the City of Christchurch and the International Sports Promotion Society (ISPS) and its chairman Dr. Haruhisa Handa, the ISPS Handa NZ Women’s Open will be once again co-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour and Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour.
Scheduled between the prestigious Australian Ladies Masters and ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, the NZ Women’s Open is assured of securing the best field since the introduction of the Women’s Open in 2009.
The tournament is in its fifth year after the inaugural championship was staged at the Clearwater Golf Club in 2009 and for the past three years it has been staged at the Pegasus Golf and Sports Club north of Christchurch.
It holds a special place in the New Zealand sporting landscape as, with a purse of $315,000 (NZD), it is the most lucrative women’s sporting event in the country.
The sponsorship from ISPS, headed up by Japanese philanthropist Dr. Handa, with support of the Christchurch City Council has ensured the continuation of the event in the Garden City.
“We at ISPS strongly believe in the power of sport, its ability to create hope, inspire people and transform society,” said Dr. Handa, ISPS Chairman.
“We know that golf has the capability to do much more than just entertain, so it is fantastic to see that this tournament will be able to support New Zealand and in particular help with the rebuilding of the City of Christchurch during these testing times.”
Mayor Bob Parker said he’s delighted to welcome back to Christchurch the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open.
“It’s wonderful news that ISPS Handa has renewed its sponsorship for a further two years,” said Mayor Parker. "This is such a prestigious event on the golfing calendar and as a city we are committed to attracting and hosting top sporting events such as this one".
“The Women’s Open will be held at Clearwater in 2013. It is a privilege to be hosting leading professionals from all around the world and I know that the people of Christchurch will be eager to witness the talent and entertainment that will be on offer at this spectacular venue. We also look forward to the many visitors that will be in our city for this tournament which will also ultimately have a positive economic impact on the city".
The co-sanction partners, ALPG and LET, were also delighted with the news.
"The ALPG Tour and LET are excited to have the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women's Open on the schedule for 2013,” said ALPG Chief Executive Officer Warren Sevil.
“Recent championships have been highly successful and the players very much enjoy the New Zealand experience and the hospitality extended to them by the people of Christchurch. We are delighted to be returning to the site of the original Championship, Clearwater Golf Club, and will be bringing with us a field of true world class international players who will be anxious to add the NZ title to their resume.
Thanks to the phenomenal success story that is Lydia Ko, we expect major global media focus and much interest from golf fans. We thank Dr. Handa and the team at ISPS for their ongoing support of golf, and we again extend our sincere gratitude to the Christchurch City Council and the people of this wonderful city, without whom we would not have an event."
Dean Murphy, Chief Executive of New Zealand Golf, said that the "City of Christchurch’s ongoing commitment to golf across New Zealand’s two premier Championships together with our two key commercial partners BMW and ISPS Handa is a great partnership. It is a marriage that generates millions of dollars in tourism and economic returns to the Canterbury region besides the priceless international television brand exposure for the City of Christchurch and New Zealand receives"
Clearwater Golf Club Chairman Garry Moore said the decision reaffirms the Clearwater Club’s status as one of New Zealand’s premier golf destinations.
“We are very proud to be the host Club for both the men’s and women’s New Zealand Opens which reflects our club culture of equally accommodating the golfing needs of both genders,” said Moore. “The confidence shown in our club by NZ Golf and TA Golf, is also great tonic for the City of Christchurch. We will make certain all of the players and spectators enjoy our hospitality and a course in top international condition.”
The University of Canterbury, in recognition of Dr. Haruhisa Handa and his International Sports Promotion Society (ISPS), will establish the Dr. Handa Fellowship to support international students. The Handa Fellowship for International Studies will enable scholarly exchange and cooperation between New Zealand and Japan in the area of Japanese Studies. This gives students from the University of Canterbury and selected institutions in Japan the chance to develop a global education and provides an enriching life experience. This Fellowship will also enable collaborative and comparative research opportunities and contributions to teaching at either undergraduate or postgraduate level.
The ISPS Handa NZ Women’s Open will dedicate the gate receipts from the 2013 and 2014 events and other generated donations to the University of Canterbury Foundation to support the establishment of the Dr. Handa Fellowship in International Studies.
Bob Tuohy, Chairman of TA Golf said "an announcement will be made at the end of November regarding the player line up of who will compete in the fifth New Zealand Women’s Open".