After supplying two Major champions in Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel in the last two years, the Sunshine TourÂs significance in world golf has been recognised as the Governing Board of the Official World Golf Ranking decided to allocate points to the TourÂs 54-hole events.
At its recent meeting at the Open Championship at Royal St GeorgeÂs in Sandwich, Kent, the recognition given to the Sunshine TourÂs ÂWinter SeriesÂ events was a world first for tournaments shorter than 72 holes.
The events, which give the Southern African Tour professionals opportunities to develop their games in the face of difficulties confronting them in getting into events on other tours, will now be part of a new minimum category with four ranking points for first place (2.40 for second, 1.60 for third and 1.20 for fourth).
In addition, the Board announced that the 72-hole Âstate based and regional tournamentsÂ on the Australasian Tour would also now be included in the ranking system at the previous minimum category of six ranking points for first place, along with any 72-hole Sunshine Tour ÂWinter SeriesÂ events.
One of the major benefits for South African professionals will be that more players will be able to qualify for world ranking points than has previously been the case, giving those players access to the International Final Qualifying tournament for the Open Championship.
That event is open only to players with ranking points, and it meant that the chances of some young player being able to get into the worldÂs most important tournament were severely hampered.