15 February 2013

South Africa: Top Players Sign Up for Tshwane Open

The Els Club at Copperleaf outside Pretoria will host the inaugural Tshwane Open from 28 February to 3 March. The tournament offers a total prize purse of R17.9-million.

It is co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour and the European Tour, and is the last of a record six European Tour events in South Africa, which is more than any other country on the European Tour schedule in 2013.

The Sunshine Tour on Tuesday confirmed that among those entered are 2011 Open champion Darren Clarke, a regular visitor to South Africa, European Ryder Cup winning captain Jose Maria Olazabel, former US Open winner Michael Campbell and Simon Dyson, a six-time winner on the European Tour.

Also in the line-up is Scott Jamieson, whose 2013 season's performances include a victory in The Nelson Mandela Championship, second place in the Volvo Golf Champions and a tie for third in the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

South African stars

Richard Sterne, the recent winner of the Joburg Open with a record-breaking score and Darren Fichardt, the winner of the European Tour's Saint-Omer Open in 2012, are among the South African entrants.

Tshwane City Manager Jason Ngobeni commented: "The City of Tshwane is excited about watching these talented professionals compete for the winner's title and the €1.5-million in prize money.

"This line-up, along with the challenging course at Copperleaf, will ensure that the inaugural Tshwane Open is an event to be remembered."

'Strong competition'

Duncan Cruickshank, the marketing director of the Sunshine Tour, said in a statement: "The international contingent that has confirmed their participation in the inaugural Tshwane Open is certainly an exciting one. Each one of them is a legend in his own right, and we are looking forward to strong competition from our very best local players, who will be given a unique opportunity to show their immense talent, thanks to the Tshwane Open."

Apart from playing for the big money and world ranking points, the winner will also earn a two-year exemption on the European Tour.

Tourism and investment

The city of Tshwane views the tournament as an opportunity to promote tourism and investment in the city, with the event expected to be broadcast into 350-million homes around the world. Small businesses, too, are expected to benefit from the influx of visitors to the event.

The city is also planning to establish development clinics for aspiring golfers from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Tickets are affordably priced to encourage interest in the sporting event from all corners.

They range from R50 a day to R150 for the full four days and will shortly be available from www.computicket.com. Details with be announced via the official website and Facebook page.

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