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The Michael Hill New Zealand Open, as it is currently known for sponsorship reasons, is the leading men's golf tournament in New Zealand. Since 2007, it has been played at The Hills Golf Club in Arrowtown, near Queenstown, although it was not held in 2008 due to the rescheduling of the event from December to March.

The documented history of golf in New Zealand dates back to 1871. The first national championship was played in 1893 and the New Zealand Open was founded in 1907. The first Open was a 36 hole event played at Napier Golf Club and was won by four times New Zealand amateur champion Arthur Duncan. In 1908 the tournament was extended to 72 holes, and was won by J.A. Clements, the first notable New Zealand born professional golfer. There were no Opens in 1915-1918 due to World War I. For the first twenty years amateurs often won, but as professionals began to dominate from around 1930, so the Bledisloe Cup for leading amateur was introduced in 1934.

The event was again cancelled from 1940 to 1945 due to war. In 1954 Bob Charles, who was later to become the only New Zealander to win a major championship in the 20th century, won as an eighteen year old amateur. He won again in 1966, 1971 and 1973, as a professional, and he and the two Australian major champions Peter Thomson and Kel Nagle dominated the event from the early 1950s to the mid 1970s. Other well known winners have included the American Corey Pavin in 1984 and 1985, and Michael Campbell in 2000. In 2002 Tiger Woods took part as a thank you to his New Zealand caddie Steve Williams, but he did not win. His participation caused some controversy when ticket prices were raised sharply that year.[1]

The New Zealand Open is a PGA Tour of Australasia tournament, and in 2005 was co-sanctioned for the first time by the more prestigious European Tour, which led to a doubling of the prize fund to 1.5 million New Zealand Dollars. The European Tour had co-sanctioned PGA Tour of Australasia events before, but they had all been in Australia, making this the tours first ever visit to New Zealand. In 2006 the event was moved to November, taking its place on the European Tour schedule for the following calendar year. The 2007 event was the last to be co-sanctioned by the European Tour, and with the tournament being rescheduled to March, there was also no New Zealand Open on the 2008 Australasian Tour. The 2009 tournament will also be co-sanctioned by the Nationwide Tour, the official development tour of the PGA Tour.
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