Joburg Open Gets New Dates
Johannesburg's sporting calendar kicks off in February, with the ninth annual Joburg Open Golf tournament teeing-off at its usual home – the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club.
Unlike in the past were it took place in the first two weeks of the year, this year's tournament tees–off from Thursday, 26 February to Sunday, 1 March.
The Joburg Open sets the pace for 2015 as it is a co-sanctioned Order of Merit event on the PGA European and Sunshine Tours. It is the first tournament of the year in the European circuit to stake a claim towards the Race to Dubai.
As always, the stakes are high with the prize purse totalling €1, 3-million euros (over R15-million rands). Some 210 professional golfers are expected to participate in this year's tournament.
Sponsored by the City of Johannesburg, the tournament will draw international attention to the city through televised broadcasts as well as visiting fans. "The Joburg Open has quickly become a firm favourite on the international golfing calendar, giving local fans a chance to see top-ranked golfers and upcoming players in action," says executive mayor Parks Tau.
As usual the tournament will tee-off with a Pro-Am event on Tuesday, 24 February. The Pro-Am is by invitation only and will see about 60 professional players take to the greens with Joburg's executive mayor and some of Joburg's top businesspeople, media personalities, government officials, celebrities and the like.
The Pro-Am is a four-ball, with teams made up of one professional golfer and three amateurs. The professionals tee off the championship markers and the amateurs from the club markers.
The main legacy of the Joburg Open is the annual Couching clinic, which will take place on Wednesday, 25 February. At the Golf Clinic, aspirant and amateur golfers will be taught the intricacies of the sport, the ultimate aim being to expand its accessibility and debunk stereotypes that golf is elitist. The coaching clinic will be conducted by some of the world's best golfers, who will be playing in the tournament.
"The Joburg Open Golf Development Clinic is a tangible result of the City's efforts to take the game of golf to the people, affording youngsters an opportunity to not only meet with some of the world's best players but also to learn from them," says mayor Tau. Tau says City will continue its involvement in the provision of resources for the development of golf across the municipality, particularly in previously disadvantaged communities.
Through such interventions, the City aims to inspire youngsters from those communities to aspire to follow in the footsteps of celebrated golfers in the world, in a bid to become some of South Africa's household names.
The Joburg Open is a 72-hole stroke play championship, with 18 holes played on each of the four days. Two top-quality courses are used and both are par 72.
South Africans have featured prominently in the previous tournaments, with Brendan Grace winning in 2012, Charl Schwartzel picking up the trophy in 2010 and 2011, Richard Sterne winning in 2008 and 2013 and George Coetzee being the current title holder.
Argentina's Ariel Canete won the inaugural event in 2007 and Denmark's Anders Hansen took the honours in 2009.
The Joburg Open is the highest-paying golf tournament in South Africa, with a prize purse of 1,3-million euros (over R15-million rands) shared among all the players who make the cut. It is the third European Tour Order of Merit tournament in the country.
Entrance is R50 a day or R100 for the entire tournament; it is free for pensioners and children under the age of 16. Tickets are available online at TicketPro http://www.ticketpros.co.za/portal/web/index.php/home/. The event will be broadcast live on SuperSport for four hours on each of the four days.
Written by Lesego Ngobeni
Joburg Open is an important
tournament in the golf
calendar for both local and
It is co-sanctioned by the
Sunshine Tour and PGA
European Tour as an official
Order of Merit event.
The prize money is 1.3
million euros and this will be
shared amongst all the
players who will make the cut.
Thursday & Friday
Morning field: 10:30-12:30
Afternoon field:14:00– 16:00
Saturday & Sunday
12:00 – 16:30