Many fans will be watching with bated breath to see whether defending champion George Coetzee will be present to defend his title; possibly even to follow in the footsteps of fellow South Africans Charl Schwartzel and Richard Sterne, who each lifted the trophy twice over the past eight years.
The 2015 Joburg Open promises to once again feature amongst the best golfing talent from the respective tours when it is played at the majestic Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Course from 26 February to 1 March 2015.
The field of 210 golfers, comprising of 207 professionals and an allocation of three invited amateurs, will take up the unique challenge of playing across both the East and West courses, for their share of the €1, 3-million prize fund, which will be shared across the players who make the top 65 cut.
A major drawcard for both local and international golfers is the fact that the Joburg Open was named as the Sunshine Tour event to form part of the Open Championship Qualifying Series introduced last year. This was alongside other prestigious events on the PGA Tour, the European Tour, the Australasian Tour and the Japan Golf Tour.
The top three finishes of the Joburg Open 2015 that are not already exempt will qualify for the 144th edition of the Open Championship scheduled to take place at St Andrews in Scotland from the 12 to 19 July, 2015.
With the opportunity to qualify for golf’s oldest major championship on offer, in addition to counting towards the Sunshine and European Tours’ Order of Merit, Race to Dubai and the Chase to the Investec Cup, the Joburg Open 2015 has become a ‘must do’ tournament, on the list of many of the Sunshine and European Tours’ pros.
City of Johannesburg Executive Mayor, Cllr Parks Tau (pictured above hitting the ceremonial first tee shot last year) said: “We are very honoured to host the ninth edition of the Joburg Open. We take great pride in being able to host such a prestigious tournament, which is the only tournament on the Sunshine Tour that is played on two courses.”
“It is also the only Sunshine Tour event to form part of the Open Championship Qualifying Series. As one of the marquee sporting events hosted by the City of Johannesburg, our plans are firmly in place to improve the experience of fans who intend to walk the course alongside South Africa’s and Europe’s top golfers – promising to attract even more spectators in 2015,” Mayor Tau said.
“This speaks to the world class infrastructure we have, and our ability as a City to host tournaments, and other events of this magnitude. Not only are we able to showcase this to the thousands of golf enthusiasts who join us at the tournament each year, but also to more than 234-million households around the world, who tune in to watch the live broadcast of the tournament over the four days,” added Mayor Tau.
As part of the tournament activities, the annual Golf Development Clinic held at the Alexandra Driving Range, will take place on Wednesday, 25 February. Here aspirant and amateur golfers from schools in the Greater Alexandra area will get an opportunity to be taught skills, techniques and etiquette of the game by 10 of the Sunshine and European Tour professionals who have committed to take time out to host the clinic each year.
The objective of the coaching clinic is to take the sport to the people, and to afford young golfers, who wish to follow in the footsteps of some of the world’s great golfers, a further opportunity to be coached by professionals who participate in the Joburg Open. The programme runs throughout the year, and is supported by the City of Johannesburg.
Local residents and sporting fans, who are visiting Johannesburg at the time, are encouraged to attend the Joburg Open 2015 at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington golf clubs. The entrance fee is R50 a day or R200 for the entire tournament. Pensioners and children under the age of 16 get free entry. Tickets can be purchased online at TicketPros.
The event will be broadcast live on SuperSport from 26 February to 1 March 2015.