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Ken Borland



Glendower confirmed as SA Open hosts for 3rd straight time 0

Posted on September 29, 2015 by Ken

 

The wait to see which of the country’s major golf courses will host the 2015/16 South African Open is finally over with Glendower Golf Club in Edenvale confirmed as the hosts for the third successive time and sixth time overall.

At this stage, the 105th SA Open will be held in the same calendar slot as the 2014/2015 event, from January 7-10, with Johannesburg’s other co-sanctioned Sunshine/European Tour event, the Joburg Open, taking place the following week (January 14-17), which will not only encourage overseas golfers to play in both tournaments but also cut the costs for the Sunshine Tour.

“There’s a need for back-to-back tournaments because it’s not fair on the European golfers to make them travel back and forth to South Africa. It also means we save money on costs, which is important as well,” Duncan Cruickshank, the marketing and communications director of the Sunshine Tour, told The Citizen.

There had been strong speculation that Humewood Golf Club in Port Elizabeth, which has hosted the SA Open on five previous occasions, would be the venue for this summer’s prestigious event but the financial muscle of Gauteng has perhaps won the day.

Even though hosting the SA Open is of enormous value in terms of worldwide television coverage – Cruickshank said the exposure gained for the tourism industry by the tournament in January was worth more than a billion rand – sponsors are still needed over and above the huge investment made by municipalities and local government.

It is believed that the Africa Open at East London Golf Club is in some doubt due to a lack of sponsors, but it would be very sad if the Eastern Cape – and the coastal region as a whole – did not host a single co-sanctioned event.

Cruickshank confirmed that the Alfred Dunhill Championship would kick off the Summer Tour at Leopard Creek in Malelane from November 26-29, with the Nedbank Golf Challenge following immediately afterwards at Sun City from December 3-6.

The SA Open and Joburg Open are then on successive weekends in January, with the Africa and Tshwane Opens scheduled to go back-to-back in early March.

It was also confirmed on Tuesday that the 2016 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open, the only tri-sanctioned tournament endorsed by the European, Sunshine and Asian Tours, will be held from May 12-15, 2016, at the Four Seasons Golf Club Mauritius at Anahita.

 

All agree Glendower will be stern SA Open test 0

Posted on March 09, 2015 by Ken

The leading contenders used various terms to describe the rough at Glendower Golf Club, but one thing they all agreed on was that this year’s South African Open starting on Thursday in Edenvale will be a stern test.

Anything offline and away from the fairway will be punished, with chipping out of the rough often the only option.

Ernie Els, recently announced as the tournament’s ambassador and searching for his sixth SA Open title, is pleased that the Glendower set-up is tough.

“If you stray just off the fairway, you can really get a very tough lie. I hit one at 18 yesterday where I was a metre off the fairway and I could only advance it maybe 100 yards. But it’s what Opens are all about it, isn’t it? I think for a tournament of this stature it needs to be tough.

“Kikuyu is obviously a very thickly-laid grass and they’ve obviously let it go when there’s been a lot of rain, so it’s as thick and as tough as I’ve ever seen rough. But we want to find the best player this week and that’s what we’re going to get. You’re not going to get a guy who’s hitting it offline and getting lucky lies in the rough winning. You’re going to have to play proper golf and that’s what I think a national Open should be like,” Els said on Wednesday.

Charl Schwartzel thought the rough should have been even longer, while Branden Grace hoped it would be cut a bit, and George Coetzee described the course as “a real challenge”.

“If you miss a fairway, there is an 80% chance that you’ll have to chip out and I hit an eight-iron about 15 yards on one hole,” the Joburg Open champion said.

The greens, however, are soft and receptive, so conditions will favour the most accurate golfer rather than the most powerful.

“If there’s no rough then it’s usually a big hitter that wins, but this week is about hitting fairways and greens, which changes things a bit,” Danie van Tonder, the leader of the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit, said. “I won’t be stupid and hit driver everywhere. I’ll take three-wood or four-iron and lay-up before going for the green. To the pins I’ll be aggressive, but not on the tee shots.”

That doesn’t suit a guy like Coetzee, who likes to bomb it off the tee, but the 28-year-old said he will apply himself and look to adapt.

“I prefer tricky greens to tricky rough, but you’ve got to make your game suit the course. Hopefully I’ll hit it straight and make a few putts. You’ve got to hit a lot of fairways, because I don’t think the best putter will win it this week,” Coetzee said.

What is certain is that the leading South Africans – Schwartzel, Els, Coetzee, Grace, Richard Sterne and Hennie Otto – are all extremely hungry to claim their national Open and return the imposing trophy to home soil for the first time since Otto’s triumph in 2011.

Victory would be especially sweet for Ekurhuleni products like Els, Otto, Van Tonder and J’be Kruger.

“It’s wonderful to be back at the SA Open, especially here at Glendower in Ekurhuleni, the city where I’m from,” Els said. “I’ve played a lot of golf at Glendower, I grew up 12km from here and we’ve got a great venue this week. I feel very motivated to win as many as I can before I’m done,” the 45-year-old said.

 

 

 

 

Two SA Opens in a row for Glendower 0

Posted on November 19, 2014 by Ken

Glendower Golf Club, the classic parklands layout in Edenvale, will host the South African Open for the second successive time, from January 8-11 next year, the Sunshine Tour announced yesterday.

It will be the fifth time overall that the 6899m course will host the world’s second oldest national open, following last year’s event won by Morten Orum Madsen, and the 1997 (Vijay Singh), 1993 (Clinton Whitelaw) and 1989 (Fred Wadsworth) tournaments.

The 104th edition of the South African Open will be the first since 2010 for which the Sunshine Tour will hold the commercial rights, which is one of the reasons the tournament has moved from November to January, which will hopefully make it easier for the country’s top stars to participate.

The SA Open will now fill the spot in the calendar that had been taken by the winners-only Volvo Golf Champions, staged in Durban over the last two years.

“We are delighted that we can announce that the City of Ekurhuleni will remain on board as the host sponsor for the 104th SA Open and we thank the mayor, Cllr Mondli Gungubele, and his executive for their massive support of the SA Open and professional golf in South Africa. We are also very pleased to be able to return to the magnificent Glendower Golf Club for the second consecutive year,” Selwyn Nathan, the executive director of the Sunshine Tour, said yesterday.

“We are honoured to once again be the host city of the prestigious South African Open Championship and look forward to welcoming some of the very best golfers in the world to our aerotropolis. We are very proud to be involved with an event of this stature. For the past three years that we have been involved with the SA Open it has given our city such important exposure to so many decision-makers around the world – something that augurs well for our efforts to bring in investors from all over the world,” Gungubele said.

Marquee names for the tournament will be announced soon, according to the Sunshine Tour, and there are also plans afoot to ensure South Africa’s leading golfers play regularly in the South African Open.

 

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