As the Tshwane Open got underway on Thursday, Global Chief Executive Officer Investec Property Sam Hackner was as excited as the Sunshine Tour players about the looming climax of the Chase to the Investec Cup.
ÂPeople are starting to get into the spirit of the Chase to Investec Cup,Â said Hackner ahead of the second-last opportunity for players to earn points to get into the list of the top 30 players who will play in the concluding Investec Cup tournament which starts on March 21.
The 2012/2013 Chase to the Investec Cup season consists of the tournaments starting with the BMG Classic and ending with the Telkom PGA Championship. The top 30 players on the Investec Bonus Pool ranking, after the Telkom PGA Championship will qualify for the season ending Investec Cup.
The Investec Bonus Pool offers total prize money of R5-million with R2-million going to the winner Â 30th place will pick up R40,000. And the Investec Cup will carry a prize find of R1-million with R163,400 going to the winner.
ÂOur view of the whole thing was to have players investing effort over 13 tournaments to earn a return at the end,Â said Hackner. ÂWe liked the idea of it being in the minds of players for an extended period.
ÂAnd for our clients, weÂve had a lot of play-off events to see which 30 amateurs are going to join the top 30 professionals in the Investec Cup Â so theyÂve been excited about it too,Â he added.
The concluding tournament will take place with a round over each of the Rustenburg, Millvale and Lost City golf courses, and the final round will be played at the Lost City.
ÂIÂve heard some of the pros saying that if it wasnÂt for the Investec Cup, maybe some of them wouldnÂt be playing as frequently over these summer events as they are,Â said Hackner.
That was borne out when Africa Open champion Darren Fichardt followed up an exhausting Desert Swing on the European Tour with three consecutive tournaments on home soil, even though he felt physically drained.
Fichardt is currently second in the Chase to the Invested Cup on 846 points, 43 behind leader Jaco van Zyl.
ItÂs players such as those about whom Hackner is most excited when it comes to the Investec Cup. ÂWeÂve got some great players, like Darren, Jaco, Trevor Fisher, Hennie Otto, and I hope theyÂll all be there,Â said Hackner.
And, looked at in conjunction with InvestecÂs sponsorship of the Investec Swazi Open, it appears to be a further step into golf sponsorship for the group. ÂWeÂve been involved in the UK with rugby at Twickenham, weÂve got the English cricket team at LordÂs, weÂve done the Super 15 rugby in Australia and New Zealand Â and weÂve never really had a real South African thing,Â said Hackner. ÂGolf is very good for our clients, so I think this project is something we can really give some legs.Â
The Chase to the Investec Cup is clearly good for the Sunshine Tour professionals too.