Volvo golf champs to stay in SA

2012-09-17 17:22

Johannesburg - The Volvo Golf Champions event will stay in South Africa for at least another year after the European Tour tournament was moved out of Bahrain because of security concerns.

The event will move to Durban Country Club from January 10-13, 2013, the European tour announced on Monday.

It will be the third staging of the tournament, and the second in South Africa, after the event at the Links at Fancourt in January.

The event provides exemptions for all the tournament winners of the 2012 season and European tour players, who have won more than 10 events on tour in their career.

Defending champion, South African Branden Grace, has already confirmed his participation.

The European Tour’s ‘Tournament of Champions’ will be the first tournament of the new year with the most valuable purse on the African continent.

This year the prize fund was €2m, about R21m, and the 2013 prize fund will be announced in late October.

Minister for Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula was pleased the tournament would be staying in South Africa.

“This is fantastic news for South African golf. Our leading golfers have made us very proud with their performances around the world,” said Mbalula.

“Ernie Els and Retief Goosen, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Trevor Immelman have all won majors, showing the world the strength of South African golf, and there is every indication that Branden Grace will follow suit soon.”

“We want to ensure there are opportunities for our South African fans and aspiring young golfers to see our star players compete at home against other Tour champions and the Volvo Golf Champions is the perfect opportunity.”

Per Ericsson, president of Volvo Event Management, said he was pleased to have the event move to Durban.

“We are delighted to be partnering the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government, the Department for Sport and Recreation and the Department for Tourism,” said Ericsson.

“Our plan is to rotate this great tournament around key destinations around the world and we are delighted to have formed a relationship with South Africa whose strategy matches so well with our vision for the Volvo Golf Champions.

“The quality, both of the course and the infrastructure at the Durban Country Club, offer the perfect platform for the European Tour’s 2012 winners to compete at the season-opening event.”