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Ken Borland

Interesting times for Sunshine Tour event organisers

Posted on November 17, 2014 by Ken

These have been interesting times for the organisers of the co-sanctioned events that highlight the summer golf season in South Africa, but the Sunshine Tour is expected to release details of at least the first half of the lucrative schedule this week.

The delay has mainly been due to the uncertainty of when to stage the South African Open, the flagship event of the summer and one for which the Sunshine Tour recently regained the commercial rights.

Unfortunately, the European Tour shifted their Volvo World Matchplay Championship from May to this week in the schedule, pushing their Tour Championship out to November 20-23, the week which had been used by the SA Open in recent years.

In what they described as “a shift in golf sponsorship strategy to focus on customers”, this will be the last time Volvo sponsor the famous matchplay event and they have also pulled the plug on the European Tour’s tournament of winners, the Volvo Golf Champions, which has been hosted by South Africa for the last three years.

While the loss of a high-profile European Tour event like that is obviously a great pity, it has left a gap in the schedule that could well now be filled by the SA Open.

January 8-11, 2015, is now the likely date of the SA Open and the talk amongst the pros is that Glendower Golf Club will once again host the prestigious event, for which big developments are expected in the near future.

The Sunshine Tour could lose another co-sanctioned event with the Nelson Mandela Championship in doubt due to both sponsorship and scheduling issues, taking the number of European Tour events in South Africa this summer down to six.

The Nedbank Golf Challenge will continue its strong new relationship with the European Tour from December 4-7 at Sun City, with the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek being held the following week.

Insiders say the Joburg, Africa and Tshwane Opens should all take place next year, although scheduling challenges do exist.

If the Nelson Mandela Championship does get the go-ahead, it could be staged at the Wild Coast Sun, moving from Durban, according to the professionals.


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