The Joburg Open enters a new era in 2014 when it takes its place amongst the biggest tournaments in the global game as a qualifying tournament for the Open Championship.
Since its debut as a European Tour and Sunshine Tour co-sanctioned event in 2007, the Joburg Open has helped to grow the international careers of many of its winners.
Now it will serve as a doorway into the oldest and most prestigious Major in the game – the 2014 Open at Royal Liverpool. The top three finishers within the top 10 of the Joburg Open not already exempt will gain entry into the Open.
This is another major milestone in the evolution of a tournament that has always sought to bring world-class golf to a world-class African city, and which will do so again when the €1.3-million tournament is played at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club from 6-9 February. This year’s field includes former champions Richard Sterne, Branden Grace, Charl Schwartzel and Ariel Canete, as well as 2005 US Open champion Michael Campbell.
“Since its inception the Joburg Open has been viewed as one of the flagship sporting events of the City of Johannesburg. Its alignment with the most historic Major in golf is another powerful affirmation of our vision to showcase a tournament that is a source of pride for the residents of Johannesburg. This is a world-class African city, and being at the forefront of global tournaments in golf in this way is further evidence of the high standards of excellence we set for our city,” said City of Johannesburg Acting Mayor, Councillor Geoffrey Makhubo.
“After our successful hosting of football showpieces such as the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup and the 2013 African Cup of Nations, we are proud to follow up with a Joburg Open golf tournament that has increased its stature on the global stage.”
This year’s Joburg Open will also pay tribute to former president Nelson Mandela by contributing to the fundraising drive for the building of the Nelson Mandela’ Children’s Hospital in Johannesburg.
“The 2014 Joburg Open will be significant in so many aspects, not least of which is the greater ability of this event to provide Sunshine Tour players with an opportunity to further their international careers through a spot into the Open Championship. And the tournament’s vision to be a benefit to the residents of Johannesburg will be showcased in the contribution it is making towards the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital,” said Sunshine Tour Executive Director Selwyn Nathan.
George O’Grady, the Chief Executive of the European Tour, said the new developments with the Joburg Open enhance the already close relationship between the Sunshine Tour and European Tour.
“The Joburg Open is one of the flagship South African events on our international schedule and its continued growth reflects the healthy relationship we have with the Sunshine Tour and South African golf.”