It was announced today that the 105th South African Open Championship will again be proudly hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni from 7 to 10 January 2016 at Glendower Golf Club, with a new title sponsor in BMW South Africa, and it will again have Ernie Els as tournament player-host. The second-oldest national open championship in golf returns to the scene of this year’s victory by England’s Andy Sullivan, at a course widely regarded as one of the best championship layouts in the country.
Speaking on behalf of the City of Ekurhuleni, Executive Mayor Cllr Mondli Gungubele said: “It is an honour to host one of the oldest golfing tournaments in the world. The SA Open is a very prestigious Championship and we cannot wait to welcome some of the very best golfers in the world back to Africa’s first Aerotropolis.
“In the four years that we have been hosting this tournament it has assisted us in selling our value proposition of being the best place to invest, work, stay and play throughout the world, and this augurs well for our economic fortunes. Equally important is the fact that we are steadily progressing towards introducing more and more of our youngsters from previously disadvantaged communities into the sport of golf.”
“Sports such as motorsport, sailing and golf are key global sponsorship pillars for the BMW brand. With this in mind, this local sponsorship initiative – which mirrors the brand’s global sponsorship strategy – sees BMW become the overall naming rights partner of the SA Open Championship. In addition, it gives the brand the opportunity to consolidate its position in golf with a signature event that we hope will grow over time to become the biggest professional event in South African golf,” said Tim Abbott, Managing Director, BMW Group South Africa.
President of the South African Golf Association, the custodians of the South African Open Championship, Gerhard Conradie said, “It is excellent news that the BMW South African Open proudly hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni has been announced for January at Glendower Golf Club and we look forward to another successful event, worthy of the long and illustrious history of one of world golf’s oldest Open championships.”
Long admired as South Africa’s favourite golfing son, Ernie Els was brought on board for the South African Open Championship as a player-host for the tournament last January, with his two charities, Els for Autism and the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation the beneficiary charities. “It was a great opportunity for me to come back to my golfing roots last year,” Els said, “and I’m looking forward to continue working with the Sunshine Tour to achieve our shared vision of growing the SA Open. I’m delighted to be part of an initiative which is putting a great tournament back on the map.”
Selwyn Nathan, Executive Director of the Sunshine Tour, said, “We are delighted that the City of Ekurhuleni will remain on board as the host sponsor for the South African Open and thank Executive Mayor Gungubele and his executive for the massive support of the South African Open and professional golf in South Africa.
“It’s also a great boost for the tournament that BMW South Africa has joined us as title sponsor. It speaks to the value of the association with the South African Open Championship that they have, and we feel certain that it is the start of a long partnership.
“We look forward to welcoming our colleagues and the players from the European Tour, with whom we co-sanction the tournament and, of course, we look forward to seeing plenty of golf fans at Glendower in January!”