Campbell To The Rescue

Peter Williams writes about the troubled New Zealand Open, and Michael Campbell's possible attempt to help save it. Thanks to reader Hux for the heads up.
One scenario is that NZG go back to the sponsorship market but set their sights lower. The naming rights deal and second-tier sponsors would be sold for a lower price in order to raise about $500,000.
Then Cambo Investments, the company that handles Michael Campbell's affairs, would be prepared to put up $250,000 - if the government matches that.
But the Beehive wants its pound of flesh too.
Golf's governing structure in this country is not what it should be. Even though the men's and women's administrative organisations amalgamated last year, things are far from ideal. There is no formal relationship with the NZPGA and too many differing bodies are pulling in different directions in matters such as player development and the staging of tournaments.
Last year's amalgamation was a step in the right direction but didn't go far enough.
I'm told that if Cambo Investments put in their quarter of a million and the government matches that sum to meet the budget for the New Zealand Open, then a major administration review in this country must take place. That will include comparing our structure to countries with similar populations, such as Sweden.
It's likely to be a hugely controversial plan and there'll be some casualties but golf in this country is stagnating. Club membership is declining and despite millions of dollars being poured into high performance programmes we are not producing the quality international players that we should.
A crisis often brings fundamental issues to the surface. There is no doubt the New Zealand Open is in crisis. But with Campbell and some of his advisers highly thought of in government circles, a rescue plan for 2006 can be put together.
Then the future direction for New Zealand golf, and its premier event, can be worked on.