The New Zealand Women's Golf Open has suffered a setback for 2018, but the tournament's long-term prospects remain intact.

LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan has confirmed the tournament won't be included on the LPGA Tour next year and will instead be re-instated at an earlier time of the year in 2019.

This year's New Zealand Open at Windross Farm was a LPGA sanctioned event for the first time. Held in late September, the event featured a number of the world's top golfers, but it now looks like the 2018 edition will be of a much smaller stature.

With three new events arriving in 2018, the Open will miss out on Tour status next year, but is set to return in 2019. The LPGA's preference is to move the tournament alongside the Australian Open in February, but another option is to hold it in April, to coincide near Hawaii's LOTTE Championship.


"We're going to move New Zealand out of 2018 so we can move it to the spring in 2019," Whan told the Golf Channel.

"We haven't usually done that, but I love our schedule level now."

While the lack of LPGA status in 2018 will likely create a short-term issue, Open organisers will be hoping that their return in 2019 will then create a stable tournament for the long-term.

The Open's LPGA debut was a mixed bag, with bad weather impacting an otherwise strongly run event. That weather forced the tournament into a fifth day on Monday, and hosting it earlier in the year would reduce the chances of the tournament being disrupted by weather.

Sean Pyun, vice president and managing director of LPGA Asia, said in October that a move to earlier in the year was a distinct possibility.

"Those things have to be considered," Pyun said. "We needed to establish the event this year, but we'll talk about weather, a title sponsor, the Auckland and New Zealand government [input] and the LPGA schedule.

"Frankly speaking, players are excited to play in different places when the season starts, as opposed to September-October when the season is winding down and players are getting tired."

If the decision is made to host the 2019 event in February, there could be a stronger field due to the proximity to the Australian Open, which could then create longer-term stability for the event.

The official 2018 LPGA Tour schedule will be revealed next week at the season-ending Tour Championship.