Alongside the professional and the amateur players competing in the 2020 New Zealand Open, a select group of Ambassadors will test their golfing skills alongside the Professionals around the picturesque Millbrook Resort and The Hills Courses.
“Our ambassadors add much to the tournament, not just on the course where they are all passionate golfers, but off it where they work in the local community and mix with our paying amateur guests,” said New Zealand Open Tournament Director, Michael Glading.
NZ Golf Magazine takes a look at some of the ambassadors for this year’s tournament.
1. Larry Fitzgerald
Age: 36 years old
Place of Birth: Minneapolis, USA
Sport: American Football
Pro-Am Partner: Berry Henson (USA)
Fitzgerald is one of the most acclaimed wide receivers in the sport’s history and on the weekend was voted in as the NFL’s first-ever “Anything but Ordinary Player of the Year” after his 16th season at the Arizona Cardinals.
The American is no stranger to the game, renowned golfing fanatic and a single figure player, Fitzgerald’s golfing exploits include scoring a hole in one while playing with former President Barack Obama and winning the PGA Tour’s AT&T Pro-Am in California (with professional Kevin Streelman) two years ago.
Only last month he teed off with Presidents Cup star Rickie Fowler at the Phoenix Open Pro-am and this month won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am alongside Kevin Streelman again.
2. Beauden Barrett
Age: 28 years old
Place of Birth: New Plymouth, New Zealand
Pro-Am Partner: Pernilla Lindberg (Sweden)
Beauden Barrett has electrified the rugby world since his All Black debut in 2012. He is also a keen golfer and pretty handy with both his left and right-handed swings!
3. Israel Dagg
Age: 42 years old
Place of Birth: Marton, NZ
Pro-Am Partner: Cory Crawford (AUS)
World Cup winning All Black Izzy Dagg loves a game of golf. He is an “I Love Golf” ambassador. He’s also pretty handy on the end of a cricket bat. One to watch in the field.
4. Shane Warne
Age: 50 years old
Place of Birth: Melbourne, Australia
Pro-Am Partner: Ryan Fox (NZL)
World famous Australian cricketer Shane Warne has described himself as a keen golfer who “doesn’t play anywhere near enough”. A true competitor, however, playing off a 9 handicap will fancy himself to be in the mix come the business end of the Pro-Am.
5. Sir Ian Botham
Age: 64 years old
Place of Birth: Heswall, Cheshire, England
Pro-Am Partner: Scott Strange (AUS)
A true favourite with the crowds and has previously played off a 9 handicap. The former English cricketer and now commentator continues his love affair with the NZ Open and Queenstown.
6. Stephen Fleming
Age: 46 years old
Place of Birth: Christchurch, NZ
Pro-Am Partner: Shiv Kapur (IND)
Stephen Fleming is the highest run-scorer for New Zealand in both Test Cricket and One Day Internationals. Renowned for his exceptional captaincy, Fleming is the most successful captain in New Zealand history and plays off a 7 handicap.