Next month’s Joburg Open to usher in SA summer golf season

19 October 2021 - 11:30
By Mahlatse Mphahlele
Former Masters winner Charl Schwartzel is one of the many attractions for next month's Joburg Open at Randpark Golf Club.
Image: Jeff Curry/Reuters Former Masters winner Charl Schwartzel is one of the many attractions for next month's Joburg Open at Randpark Golf Club.

The start of the Sunshine Tour and European Tour’s major summer season in SA golf will be ushered in by the 2021 Joburg Open to be played at Randpark Golf Club from November 25 to 28.

The R17.5m Joburg Open starts a three-week stretch of international golf tournaments in SA that will be followed by the SA Open Championship (December 2-5) and the Alfred Dunhill Championship (December 9-12).

To add to this, the Joburg Ladies Open has also been announced as a co-sanctioned tournament between the Sunshine Ladies Tour and the Ladies European Tour, with a prize fund of €250 000 and set to be played at Soweto Country Club from March 3-5.

“The Joburg Open has always been an important tournament to the City of Johannesburg because of the role it plays in showcasing the city to an international audience,” said MMC for finance Matshidiso Mfikoe.

“I am delighted to be able to announce this year’s tournament which, now more than ever, is an important tool in our role as a city to continue to help stimulate the SA economy amid the Covid-19 recovery.

“We are delighted to also announce the Joburg Ladies Open at Soweto Country Club. The rebirth of Soweto Country Club and its hosting of a professional tournament of this stature has been a shining example of what golf can do to uplift our community.”

Last November’s Joburg Open, won by Denmark’s Joachim B Hansen, was vital in stimulating the restart of the Sunshine Tour and SA professional golf after the hard lockdown.

Hansen’s four rounds in the 60s helped him to a two-shot victory over home favourite Wilco Nienaber.

This will be the 14th edition of a tournament that boasts a strong list of past champions including former Masters winner Charl Schwartzel, PGA Tour winner Branden Grace and multiple European Tour winners George Coetzee, Richard Sterne and Darren Fichardt.

“We are extremely pleased to announce the Joburg Open as the first tournament on our co-sanctioning schedule at the end of this year,” said commissioner of the Sunshine Tour Thomas Abt.

“I’d like to thank the mayor and the City of Johannesburg for so graciously supporting us over the past several years. I would also like to pay tribute to the late Councillor Geoff Makhubo, the former mayor of Johannesburg who sadly passed away.

“Councillor Makhubo was a very close friend of the Sunshine Tour and one of our greatest supporters who was passionate about seeing the Joburg Open succeed as a major international event for his city. Our thoughts will certainly be with him at this year’s tournament.

“We are also very proud to announce the co-sanctioning of the Joburg Ladies Open with the Sunshine Ladies Tour and Ladies European Tour, and to continue the important work at Soweto Country Club and this golf club’s role in inspiring a whole new generation of golfers.”

Keith Pelley, CEO of the European Tour, said: “The City of Johannesburg has been a loyal partner to a Joburg Open tournament that has played a key role in our long-standing relationship with the Sunshine Tour.

“I would like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to the City of Johannesburg, and also our condolences at the passing of Councillor Geoff Makhubo who was such a wonderful friend of this event over many years.”

Alexandra Armas, CEO of the Ladies European Tour, said: “We are delighted to add the Joburg Open to our 2022 schedule. Our sincere thanks to the authorities and the City of Johannesburg for supporting the women’s game.

“We have a long-standing relationship with the Sunshine Ladies Tour and the addition of a new co-sanctioned event will strengthen our collaboration and will impact positively on participation and interest in the women’s game in SA.”