Sunshine Tour

Joburg Open brings early Xmas bonanza

2017-09-24 06:21
Sunshine Tour logo (File)

Johannesburg - Golf fans can look forward to an early Christmas present in the form of the Joburg Open, which has been moved to a new venue and date.

The popular event, sponsored for R16.5 million, will now be played at the Randpark Golf Club over two courses, from December 7 to 10. It will be tri-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour, European Tour and Asian Tour events. This means top golfers from Europe and Asia will compete in the showdown.

The contest, featuring some of the finest players around South Africa and Europe, is traditionally held in January at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club. The venue is unavailable for the showpiece as its east course is being upgraded.

This means golf lovers in a festive season mood will get some great back-to-back entertainment as another big contest – the Tshwane Open – will tee off at the Pretoria Country Club a week later (December 14).

A month earlier, the Nedbank Golf Challenge would have been staged at the Gary Player Country Club from November 9 to 13.

But it is the new scheduling of the Open that will probably generate the most interest, as the showpiece is usually full of action.

Sunshine Tour executive director Selwyn Nathan said at the launch at the Soweto Country Club in Pimville this week that former British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen confirmed that he would participate in the Joburg Open as it marked a new era in its history.

“Louis has assured us that he would be competing. He says he is excited to be supporting the growth of what is one of the premier tournaments in world golf,” said Nathan.

The field for the Open will be 240 professionals, including 30 Asian Tour members and four amateur invitees. The remaining spots will shared between the European and Sunshine Tours.

Meanwhile, the Soweto Country Club’s rebirth will be given another boost when the refurbishment of the golf course begins later this year.

The course, one of the oldest in the country, was designed by Gary Player. The World Golf Hall of Fame member announced at his birthday celebrations, held at the Soweto Country Club earlier this year, that he would renovate it for free. The venue was supposed to host the Joburg Open Pro-Am on December 6, but the contest was cancelled because of the renovations.

New fairways, bunkers, tee boxes and an irrigation system are being planned.

“Player has indicated that he will be sending his designer to come and identify what they want to do,” Soweto Country Club spokesperson Justice Matshaya said in Soweto this week.

The improvement of the venue forms part of the overall upgrade of the club, which is already at an advanced stage.

City of Johannesburg executive mayor Herman Mashaba expressed his gratitude for the support of the project.

“The City of Johannesburg gave it further impetus by hosting a mayoral golf day, and all of the proceeds have been donated to the refurbishment,” said Mashaba.

Read more on:    sunshine tour  |  joburg open  |  golf
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