Golf | 20 Sep 2017 | By Michael Vlismas

Joburg Open makes SA golf history with new tri-sanctioned status

The Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, Councillor Herman Mashaba, and Selwyn Nathan, the Executive Director of the Sunshine Tour, at the launch of the 2018 Joburg Open at Soweto Country Club on Wednesday. | Photo by Tyrone Winfield

The Joburg Open will make history as it becomes the first tri-sanctioned golf tournament on South African soil, and it also features a new date and venue on the Sunshine Tour this year.

At the launch of the R16.5 million (approximately US$1.2 million) tournament at Soweto Country Club on Wednesday, Sunshine Tour Executive Director Selwyn Nathan announced that the Joburg Open will be played at Randpark Golf Club over two courses from 7-10 December and will be tri-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour, European Tour and Asian Tour.

Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club, the traditional home of the tournament, is undergoing extensive upgrades to its East Course.

Former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen has also confirmed that he will play in the Joburg Open as it marks a new era in its history.

“I’m very excited to be supporting the growth of what is one of the premier tournaments in world golf. I’m a proud winner on all three Tours and look forward to playing in Johannesburg again,” said Oosthuizen.

The tournament will once again form part of the Open Championship’s International Qualifying, offering three spots into the Major for the leading three finishers in the top 10 who are not already exempt.

The Joburg Open will also be the penultimate event on the Asian Tour schedule and will be crucial in the race for the Order of Merit title.

“This is an exciting time for the growth of the Joburg Open and we welcome our new partners, the Asian Tour, in this endeavor,” said Nathan.
“The strength of the Sunshine Tour has always been the excellent relationships we have with the other major tours of the world and this allows us to keep creating opportunities for our members and global value for our sponsors.”

The field for this December’s Joburg Open will be 240 professionals, including 30 Asian Tour members, four amateur invites, and then the remainder to be shared between the European Tour and Sunshine Tour.

European Tour Chief Executive Officer Keith Pelley also welcomed the growth of the tournament.

“We have strong relationships with both the Sunshine Tour and the Asian Tour and this is another opportunity to showcase how this can be used to drive golf forward in the region and to ensure a stronger product that benefits all.

“We have had tremendous success tri-sanctioning with both tours before this, and so we look forward to building on this with a tournament which will form an integral part of the exciting opening to our 2018 schedule. We sincerely thank the City of Joburg for its continued support of this event.”

Asian Tour Chief Executive Josh Burack was delighted to welcome the Joburg Open on the Asian Tour schedule.

“On behalf of our talented members, we are proud to sanction the Joburg Open for the first time in the tournament’s history. We have a strong partnership with the Sunshine Tour and European Tour and we will continue to work together to develop the game around the globe.

“We are excited to add the Joburg Open on our robust schedule and the presence of the Asian Tour in 18 different countries this season shows the appeal and growth of the Tour.”

Herman Mashaba, Executive Mayor of the City of Joburg, said the changes reflect the Joburg Open’s original strategy to keep positioning the city to a global audience.

“We are thrilled to welcome on board the Asian Tour and excited at the new markets this affords us in terms of coverage of the Joburg Open. Our aim from the start with this tournament was to showcase all that Johannesburg has to offer, and to now include Asia in this is a big step forward for us.”

About The Sunshine Tour

The Sunshine Tour is a men’s professional golf tour based in Southern Africa. The tour is one of the six leading men’s tours which make up the International Federation of PGA Tours, which includes the PGA Tour, The European PGA Tour, The Japan Golf Tour, the PGA Tour of Australasia, and the Asian Tour.

The winner of the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit is awarded the Sid Brews Trophy.

The Sunshine Tour co-sanctions five tournaments with the European Tour and tri-sanctions two tournaments with the European Tour and Asian Tour.

The Tour also has a strong development tour in the Sunshine Big Easy Tour as well as a thriving women’s tour in the Sunshine Ladies Tour.

About The European Tour

The European Tour celebrates men’s professional golf on a global stage. In 2017, the European Tour International Schedule features a minimum of 47 tournaments in 26 countries, including eight Rolex Series events, all part of the Race to Dubai.

Celebrating the global connectivity of the European Tour and Dubai, the Race to Dubai is a season-long competition to crown the European Tour’s Number One player, an honour which in 2016 went to Sweden’s Henrik Stenson for the second time, and which since 2009 has also been achieved three times by Rory McIlroy, as well as by Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Luke Donald. Formerly known as the Order of Merit, points are accumulated based on prize money won, with the top 10 ranked players at the end of the season sharing a $5million Race to Dubai bonus pool.

Since its formation in 1972, the European Tour has witnessed 26 Members celebrate a total of 52 Major Championship titles between them, enjoyed ten Members attaining the pinnacle of World Number One and has celebrated its diversity as players from 36 different countries have won on the Tour.

The European Tour also manages the Challenge Tour, which featured 28 tournaments in 22 countries in 2016, and the Senior Tour, which featured 13 tournaments in nine countries in 2016. It is also the Managing Partner of Ryder Cup Europe, the body which, alongside the PGA of America, administers golf’s greatest team contest, The Ryder Cup. 

The European Tour broadcasts live coverage of its tournaments to more than 490 million homes in more than 150 countries every week, generating in excess of 2,200 global broadcast hours for each event. It also enjoys the support of many of the world’s leading business brands with Rolex, BMW, Emirates and Titleist as Official Partners.

About The Asian Tour

As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Rolex (Official Timekeeper), Panasonic (Official Consumer Electronics), ECCO (Official Footwear Sponsor), FENIX XCell (Official Apparel Supplier), Titleist (Official Web Partner), Bloomberg TV (Official International Media Partner), Bloomberg Businessweek Chinese (Official International Media Partner) and Sentosa in Singapore which is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has an office in Kuala Lumpur.