Following extensive meetings in Augusta, Georgia with the US PGA Tour and the International Federation of PGA Tours (of which the Sunshine Tour is a founder member), Commissioner of the Sunshine Tour Gareth Tindall today announced that the Sunshine Tour will host and stage a World Golf Championships event in South Africa from 2012.
While the exact dates and venue are still to be confirmed, the event, which will feature the top 70 players on the Official World Golf Ranking, will be closely linked to building awareness of poverty and the HIV/Aids pandemic in Africa and will be known as the Tournament of Hope.
ÂThis is, without doubt, the most significant milestone in the history of professional golf in South Africa,Â said an elated Tindall on his return from Augusta. ÂIt is something that we as the Sunshine Tour have been working on for a long time and the unanimous support that we have received from the other professional Tours around the world confirms the major standing of our players and the Sunshine Tour in world golf.
ÂWhat is even more significant is that we have the commitment that we will host this World Golf Championships event for a period of five years. That has enormously positive implications for the game and for our country as a whole.Â
Also coming out of the meetings was the fact that the dates of the South African Open Championship and the Alfred Dunhill Championship will swap so that the SA Open will no longer clash with The Presidents Cup, which will be held in Australia from 16 to 21 November. This will clear the way for defending champion Ernie Els, new Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and other South Africans to play in both events.
ÂThe International team in this yearÂs Presidents Cup is likely to feature at least five South Africans,Â said Tindall, Âand we wanted to ensure that they have the opportunity to play in both events. We are delighted that we were able to reach this agreement and must pay tribute to our long-time sponsor Alfred Dunhill for agreeing to the compromise.Â
In closing, Tindall added, ÂWe now find ourselves at the beginning of one of the most exciting chapters in South African sport and we have plenty of work to do. We look forward to being able to make further announcements about the WGC event in due course.Â