The Asian Tour will break fresh ground in 2017 following a new and exciting collaboration with organisers of the ISPS Handa New Zealand Open, officials announced today.

ISPS Handa New Zealand Open Tournament Chairman John Hart said an agreement has been sealed to include 10 Asian Tour members in the NZ$1 million (approximately US$700,000) tournament at Millbrook Resort and The Hills in Queenstown from March 9 to 12, 2017.

The tournament will also be broadcast live on the Asian Tourโ€™s global television platform which will see an even larger audience than ever tuning in to the unique event.ย ย 

Following this initial collaboration, the parties, including the current sanctioning Tour, the PGA Tour of Australasia, have agreed to meet immediately following the 2017 event to discuss future expanded sanctioning arrangements with the Asian Tour for the tournament for the following two years.

Such sanctioning would likely feature more Asian Tour players featuring in the field and earnings from the event counting towards the Asian Tour Order of Merit.

Hart said: โ€œWe are delighted to enter into a partnership with the Asian Tour. From the outset, we have set about to create a unique golf event that will ultimately be recognised as the pre-eminent Pro-Am tournament in the Asia-Pacific region, and this connection to the Asian Tour is another important step in us achieving that aim. We look forward to working with our current partners, the PGA Tour of Australasia, the Japan Golf Tour and now the Asian Tour, as we continue to extend our boundaries.โ€

Asian Tour CEO Josh Burack hailed the new partnership with the ISPS Handa New Zealand Open, saying it was a significant development for the growth of professional golf in the Asia Pacific region.

โ€œOn behalf of our talented and diverse membership, I would like to express our fullest appreciation to Tournament Chairman John Hart, Tournament Director Michael Glading and their team for inviting Asian Tour members to participate in the ISPS Handa New Zealand Open,โ€ said Burack.

โ€œThis will be the first time in our history that the Asian Tour will visit New Zealand. It is an honour for the Asian Tour to take part in this outstanding golf tournament that features a unique Pro-Am format. Our members are very excited at the opportunity to showcase their talents at the ISPS Handa New Zealand Open. From an initial 10 members competing, our involvement will hopefully grow to a full sanctioning position in 2018 and 2019 which is fantastic news as we continue to expand playing opportunities for our members.

โ€˜I would also like to extend our gratitude to the PGA Tour of Australasia which is the home Tour of this great tournament. We look forward to working closely with the tournamentโ€™s key stakeholders to ensure the eventโ€™s continued success and stature in the world of golf.โ€

Asian Tour honorary member Y.E. Yang of Korea, the first Asian to win a Major championship, has already confirmed his participation in the 2017 ISPS Handa New Zealand Open along with home heroes Ryan Fox and Michael Hendry.

The ISPS Handa New Zealand Open also includes a number of leading players from the Japan Golf Tour.

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