Investec chief executive officer Sam Hackner told Sunshine Tour tournament director Gary Todd to announce on Wednesday that the 2012 Investec Royal Swazi Open would have a prize fund of R1-million.
Todd made the announcement at a function after the first round of the current Investec Royal Swazi Open being played at the Royal Swazi Spa Golf Course for a prize fund of R850,000.
The tournament is played on a modified stableford system, with eight points for an albatross, five for an eagle, two for a birdie and none for par. One point is deducted for every birdie and two for double or worse. The format is extremely popular with the players, and the announcement of the increased prize fund was enthusiastically received.
The event is in its 41st year now, but was rescued from near extinction by Larry Nestadt, who remains its guiding light to this day. He is not playing the event for the first time in 36 years this year because of some health issues, but he is still personally and deeply involved in running the tournament. “The truth is, you get a bye in your 36th year,” he laughed.
The event in Swaziland started in 1971, and it built an enviable reputation with a list of winners that is impressive Â including the likes of John Daly, Mark McNulty, Ernie Els, and, more recently the likes of multiple Sunshine Tour winners Jean Hugo and Jaco van Zyl.
Todd pointed out that when Nestadt stepped in, the prize fund was R250,000, and has escalated to its current level on his watch.
In an interview last year, Nestadt expressed the hope that the prize fund would get to R1-million this year.
It’s taken just a bit longer, but he – and Investec – was as good as his word.