for quality writing

Ken Borland

Wishing for a summer of peace in golf

Posted on January 18, 2023 by Ken

After a bitter, confrontational year, there are many in international golf who just wish the whole LIV Golf affair and the resulting civil war would be resolved and the game could go back to the way it was.

Even Rory McIlroy, probably the most vocal supporter of the establishment tours, this week admitted that the whole feud has “gotten way out of control” and some sort of truce and lasting peace needs to be found.

LIV Golf holds their season finale this weekend with their Team Championship at Donald Trump’s National Doral. The purse is believed to be a staggering $50 million and it will surprise no-one that Trump has come out and praised the Saudi Arabian backers of the event and their big-money disruption of the status quo.

Back here in South Africa, as we prepare to go into the high-season of summer golf and the big co-sanctioned events, there is some good news. Golfers such as Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Branden Grace, who have always been favourites of local fans, will be on the fairways competing for some of the big prizes in the major tournaments despite having joined the LIV circus.

Schwartzel and Grace will be joining the likes of Dylan Frittelli, Oliver Bekker, Dean Burmester, Thriston Lawrence, Danie van Tonder, Erik van Rooyen and even the little-known MJ Daffue, the Pretoria product who has earned his PGA Tour card and led this year’s U.S. Open at the halfway stage, at the South African Open from December 1-4.

Christiaan Bezuidenhout is also hopefully going to play one or two events.

Oosthuizen is going to play in the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek from December 8-11, but will miss the SA Open because he is going to be in the U.S. for his children’s first week of the new school year.

At the moment, none of the LIV defectors will be going to Sun City to play in the Nedbank Golf Challenge though, because that is a DP World Tour event, part of their season-ending series, the invitations based on their order of merit rankings. The DP World Tour’s attempt to prevent LIV golfers from playing in any of their events was blocked by a UK court though, with a final ruling expected in February.

Although events like the SA Open and Alfred Dunhill Championship are co-sanctioned with the DP World Tour, they are played under the auspices of the Sunshine Tour and they are not going to turn away such drawcards as Oosthuizen, Grace and Schwartzel.

The Sunshine Tour is also going all out to ensure those who have never been drawn to golf as a spectator sport have plenty of reasons to come to these tournaments, especially the SA Open, which is being played at Blair Atholl Estate for the first time.

Sunshine Tour commissioner Thomas Abt explains that “We want to create an exciting and fun event, not just for the hardcore golf fans but for their partners and children too”.

“We will be showcasing the best of South African golf, but what else is there that attracts people? We have a strong vision of fan involvement, so there will be exciting fan parks.

“We want to create a real sense of occasion, we have some interesting options there, plus on every day, we will have three spectators putting for cash – R10 000 on the first three days and R100 000 on the final day. And it’s all at a spectacular destination,” Abt says.

Hopefully the golf family will be reunited in South Africa this festive season. At the end of the day, surely the game, its rich traditions and history, are worth more than a few making many millions of dollars?

After all, professional golfers always tell you it’s not the size of the paycheque but the prestige of the title that really matters. Or has LIV Golf brought us to the end of such idyllic notions?

Leave a Reply

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Thought of the Day

    Mark 7:8 – “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.”

    Our foundation must be absolute surrender, devotion and obedience to God, rising from pure love for him. Jesus Christ must be central in all things and his will must take precedence over the will of people, regardless of how well-meaning they may be.

    Surrender yourself unconditionally to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, then you will be able to identify what is of man with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Then you will be able to serve – in love! – according to God’s will.

↑ Top