The Nelson Mandela Championship, to be staged in association with the former South Africa president’s Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, will be held from December 6-9, while the Tshwane Open, backed by the country’s administrative capital, Pretoria, will take place from February 28 to March 3, 2013.
The Tshwane Open at the Els Club Copperleaf will have prizemoney of 1.5 million euro, meaning the winner will gain a two-year exemption on the European Tour, while the purse for the Nelson Mandela Championship has yet to be finalised, but Sunshine Tour executive director Selwyn Nathan said it would be “a minimum of one million euro”.
The Sunshine Tour also announced on Tuesday that the prizemoney for the Alfred Dunhill Championship, to be played at Leopard Creek from December 13-16, has also been increased to 1.5 million euro.
South Africa is now the country that will host the most European Tour events, with the South African Open, Africa Open and Joburg Open also being co-sanctioned events with the Sunshine Tour.
“I’m particularly excited that we have another two European Tour co-sanctioned events, as it shows the confidence one of the two major tours in the world has in us,” Nathan said. “It’s a really special day for us and we hope the stars will support these events. They show we have a face in international golf.”
Although the venue for the Nelson Mandela Championship has also yet to be finalised, Nathan confirmed that it would be held at one of two coastal courses – the Royal Durban Golf Club or Humewood in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. The head of the Sunshine Tour said they were in the process of making sure facilities at the two courses were all in order and they would be paying particular attention to practice facilities and hospitality capability.
“We are hoping the Nelson Mandela Championship will be held for a minimum of three years and it would be wonderful if it could stay in the same place. There are also a whole bunch of opportunities with international players who are in the country already to play at Sun City the week before,” Nathan said.
The Tshwane municipality’s executive mayor, Kgosientso Ramokgopa, said his council are guaranteeing R44 million (4.18 million euro) per annum for their tournament until the Sunshine Tour can find sufficient sponsors.
“The money we are guaranteeing is an investment we are making in ensuring coverage for Tshwane all over the world and it’s a small contribution compared to the budget for the indigent programs that will provide relief to the poor,” Ramokgopa said.
The Tshwane Open, which will be held at the Els Club Copperleaf for the next three years, will bring to an end a month of co-sanctioned events in Africa, including the Africa and Joburg Opens, before the tour returns to Europe.