Meticulous Frittelli eyes major successWhen good preparation meets opportunity, success is imminent, so goes an old saying. Sunshine Tour player, now plying his trade on the PGA Tour in the United States, Dylan Frittelli, knows more about this than, perhaps, most of us. A meticulous planner with attention to every detail of his game, Frittelli has always been a sportsman. As a child, he played soccer and cricket among other sports, with his father his number one hype man. In junior golf, he swiftly moved through to be recognised as his regions best and in no time, he was in the national junior teams. In 2007, he claimed the Callaway Junior World Golf Championships and the following year, the South African Boys' Championship. College beckoned and he went to the University of Texas, where he won the decisive match to lead his team to victory at the 2012 NCAA Championship. Ever so patient. Ever so meticulous. “I pride myself in getting better every step of the way,” he said, speaking on the Sunshine Tour’s Out of Bounds. “I don’t believe in skipping steps, you have to go through your own process.” His process earned him two Challenge Tour titles, a Sunshine Tour tri-sanctioned title and most recently, his maiden PGA Tour title, the John Deere Classic. “Something needs to take a bit of time,” he says, “there have been tons of guys who became overnight sensations; won once or twice, and then they just didn’t have the staying power. I’ve always prided myself on being meticulous and not rushing things. I think that’s the sustainable way, I don’t know. Maybe I’m wrong but I like stability in my golf and life in general.” The stability of having full PGA Tour status, thanks to a win, and ability to compete at major international events is what Frittelli has always worked for. From junior to the professional athlete. And now, among the elite in the game on nothing but merit, Frittelli’s next mission is clear. “The majors and the WGC events, that’s where my focus is now,” he says, “the John Deere Classic was huge but the crazy thing is that confidence which came after that. People talk about different stages and levels of a professional athlete’s career and I’m like “hey, I’ve won” and I had that trip to The Open, right after. So, I know the next platform for to me to shine is the majors and the WGCs.” With success on the Sunshine Tour, the Asian Tour, the European and Challenge Tours, and now on the PGA Tour, it is not a ridiculous idea to tout Frittelli as a future winner of major events. And having seen the fruits of his process, doubting its efficiency borders on the ignorant. Be so as it may, when he returns to golf following his positive test for the Covid-19 and is cleared to play, Frittelli will challenge for titles everywhere he plays.
GolfRSA Statement – Announcement on the return to GolfGolfRSA and the Golf bodies welcome the efforts of the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture that have allowed for the safe return of Golf. The Golf bodies wish to thank the Minister, Director-General and their team of staff for their commitment to helping Golf to begin exercise and training for members of a federation, agency, club or body. Golf acknowledges and recognises that the safety of human life is of paramount importance. We appreciate the challenge presented to the government to ensure an appropriate response to the threats presented by the global Corona Virus pandemic. As a result, we sought to ensure compliance with unfolding regulations and directives. Over the past few weeks, GolfRSA has equipped all clubs with Risk Mitigation Strategies and training of Compliance Officers. In addition to this, GolfRSA has provided all facilities with a state-of-the-art Application that allows for the scanning and monitoring of all golfers and staff. Clubs need to complete the Confirmation of Compliance Document and submit it to GolfRSA before they can open their facilities. We wish to thank the golfing public and industry for their support of the collaborative process undertaken by the golf bodies.
GolfRSA STATEMENT – 8 June 2020GolfRSA has today received an official reprimand from the Ministry of Sports, Arts and Culture following certain golf estates and facilities opening up for golf last week and this past weekend. According to the official letter from the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, “the opening of these facilities is in direct contravention of Regulations 37 (1) (e) read with 39 (2) (b) of government’s Alert Level 3 Regulations.” “Hence, the contravention of the above Regulations, in terms of Regulation 48 constitutes and offence, which may amount to a fine or imprisonment,” the statement continues. The actions of these estates and facilities has potentially put the reopening of the entire golf industry at risk. In the letter, the Department wished to place on record their “appreciation for various engagements with GolfRSA as we chart the way forward for a return to play for the sports sector”. The fruitful discussions between the delegation for Golf and DSAC have been amicable and progressive. We have established a high level of mutual trust and the Minister, Director-General and the team at the Department has been open and proactive in terms of working towards solutions for the safe return of Golf and other non-contact sports. In a statement on Friday 5th June, GolfRSA communicated that we were days away from an announcement regarding the decision relating to the return of golf. GolfRSA also warned that actions of golfers and clubs demonstrating defiance of the regulations could negatively impact this announcement. The behaviour of a small minority of golf clubs and golfers over the past few days is a direct threat to the reopening of the golf industry, undoing the good work done by the delegation of golf over this period. In the official letter, the Department acknowledged that it “fully understands the impact that the pandemic is having on Golf and the sporting sector as a whole”. The letter requests GolfRSA to notify golfers and clubs to “desist from resuming golf activities until such time as the directions are gazetted and the details therein are complied with”. GolfRSA does not condone the opening of any golf facilities before the department gazettes the official regulations and we sincerely hope these actions have not put the reopening of the golf industry at risk. We have yet to make an official statement in terms of an actual date for golf’s return and we request that golfers treat any communication from outside agencies with caution, as there are many misleading communications from clubs, as well as posts doing the rounds on social media. GolfRSA and the SA golfing bodies urgently appeal to all golf facilities in South Africa not to jeopardise Golf’s positive position. Please comply with the current Alert Level 3 Regulations and exercise good conduct as we cross the final hurdle. Click the link BELOW to view the letter from the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture Letter Department SportsArtsCulture_8June2020
Rama seals Virtual Sunshine Tour Knockout victoryRookie Nikhil Rama claimed a comfortable three-shot win over Heinrich Bruiners in the final of the Virtual Sunshine Tour Knockout to become the very first champion of this virtual tournament. A first for professional golf in South Africa, the #VST8Knockout featured eight golfers from the Sunshine Tour and Sunshine Ladies Tour. They competed against each other in a knockout format at Soweto Country Club, and all the matches were being streamed live on YouTube, Facebook and Twitch. The first semi-final match was between Dwayne Basson and Rama and having been in fine form from the knockout stage, Rama won the match in the first playoff hole. Both players finished tied at one-under-par in regulation and while Basson made a par there on the first hole of sudden-death, Rama made his birdie and won the match. “It feels pretty good to win the #VST8Knocout,” said Rama, “I know it’s not like winning a tournament on the main Tour but it’s still nice to win and thank you to everybody who watched supported us. “Winning the first virtual tournament is amazing for me because it’s something we’ve never done and I hope it can only grow from here. I can’ wait to get back on real tournaments and start competing again.” In his semi-final match-up, Bruiners beat Oliver Bekker to book himself a spot in the final.
Rama eyes maiden “Tour” win as he seals semi-final spot of Virtual Sunshine Tour KnockoutThe VST Knockout powered by Gauteng Provincial Government got underway on Saturday and rookie Nikhil Rama was in rampant form as his three-under-par score saw him qualify for the semi-finals with the lowest score in the field. The virtual knockout tournament – a first of its kind in professional golf in South Africa – features a total of eight golfers from the Sunshine Tour and Sunshine Ladies Tour competing against each other in a knockout format at Soweto Country Club, and is being streamed live on YouTube, Facebook and Twitch. The first match saw Dwayne Basson take on Thabiso Ngcobo in a thrilling encounter where the winner would be decided in sudden death. Both players finished at two-under-par in regulation but a birdie on the fourth playoff hole earned Basson the first spot in the semi-finals. “It went a lot better than expected,” said Basson after his victory, “and definitely didn’t expect the game to get my heart going a little there towards the end. But it was nice to finish the way I did, with those few birdies in those last few holes. So, I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s semi-finals” Playing in the second match of the day, rookie Rama, claimed a comfortable six-stroke victory over Dylan Mostert, a rookie himself on Tour. Rama carded a three-under-par round, the lowest score of the day. “It feels awesome to win my first match of the knockout,” he said, “it’s a first Sunshine Tour event for me. The thing I mostly enjoyed today was that feeling of bringing back tournament nerves again. Started off a bit nervous but then got it together and the nerves settled. Started to get the game back again. If I win, I don’t think it will be as big of a victory as the main Sunshine Tour win but it will be up there for me to remember” Oliver Bekker also claimed a hard-fought win against Sunshine Ladies Tour pro, Cassandra Hall. His two-over-par score was enough to earn him a four-shot victory and a spot in the semis. “It was really exciting, said Bekker. “There was a little bit more pressure though because there’s a little bit more than just pride on the line; to try and get into the next stage. It was good. I didn’t play my best but luckily it was good enough. Looking forward to tomorrow.” The final spot in the semi-finals went to Heinrich Bruiners whose level-par finished ensured he claims victory in his second appearance on the Virtual Sunshine Tour. He lost to Andre Nel the first virtual challenge of this series. “They say level-par is always good,” Bruiners declared after his victory over another Sunshine Ladies Tour player, Lejan Lewthwaite. “I’m just happy that I pulled it through. Lejan played some good golf but I was lucky because I have a PlayStation at home. She probably would have beaten me if she had more practice, I got lucky today. “I’m going to bring my A-game tomorrow. Bekker needs to be prepared because I’m going to bring the heat.”
Virtual Sunshine Tour launches SA golf’s first virtual professional tournamentThe Virtual Sunshine Tour (VST) will be taking it to the next level this weekend in a first for South African professional golf – a virtual golf knockout tournament. The VST Knockout powered by Gauteng Provincial Government will feature a total of eight golfers from the Sunshine Tour and Sunshine Ladies Tour competing against each other in a knockout format on Saturday 6 June and Sunday 7 June, and which will be streamed live on YouTube, Facebook and Twitch. In another significant move, Soweto Country Club will be the host virtual course of this tournament. This brings this iconic golf club, which has undergone a comprehensive refurbishment by the Sunshine Tour and in partnership with the Gauteng Provincial Government and a host of private and public benefactors, into an entirely new digital space. “We are extremely excited about this next phase of the Virtual Sunshine Tour. This is part of our greater strategy to engage with and reach a new audience on platforms where they wouldn’t normally consume golf,” Thomas Abt, the Deputy Commissioner of the Sunshine Tour, said at the launch of the tournament on Thursday. “It has been extremely difficult to have no opportunity to play live golf, and this has been a challenging time for all of us in South African golf. As a Tour, our foremost priority is to give our member players the chance to earn a living, and we cannot do that at this time. We also need to give our sponsors value during this time. So we’ve had to reinvent ourselves somewhat, and the Virtual Sunshine Tour has definitely gained momentum. No other professional sport that we know of in South Africa has had this kind of consistent virtual presence during lockdown, so we are very proud of what we’ve achieved this far. This tournament is another important step in that growth.” The format of the VST Knockout powered by Gauteng Provincial Government will see four matches played online on Saturday 6 June from 12:00 to 17:30. The semi-finals and final will be played on Sunday 7 June. The first semi-final will be played from 12:00 to 13:00, followed by the second semi-final from 13:30 to 14:30. The final will take place from 15:00 to 16:00. The eight professionals will compete for a total of R6 500 in prize money, with the winner earning R3 000. Sunshine Ladies Tour professional Lejan Lewthwaite is one of the eight professionals who will compete this weekend. “I jumped at the chance to be a part of this because I’m just itching to be competitive in some way again,” she said. “It’s been tough as a professional athlete to stay focused during this COVID-19 lockdown and as we wait for golf courses to re-open, so in that sense, I think the Virtual Sunshine Tour has been an awesome concept.” Sunshine Tour professional Heinrich Bruiners said he is equally excited about the chance to compete in a virtual golf tournament for the first time. “I’m so excited just to be able to be competitive again and get those competitive juices flowing.” Abt also paid tribute to the significance of Soweto Country Club being the virtual host this weekend. “It’s very exciting. The Soweto Country Club project was the vision of our Commissioner, Selwyn Nathan, and all of us who have worked on it have been privileged to be a part of it. The Gauteng Provincial Government have been amazing partners with us on this project, and we’re very pleased to give them this opportunity to showcase that even more in the virtual space.” VST Knockout powered by Gauteng Provincial Government Match Schedule: Saturday 6 June VST Match 1: Thabiso Ngcobo vs Dwayne Basson (12:00 – 13:00) VST Match 2: Dylan Mostert vs Nikhil Rama (13:30 – 14:30) VST Match 3: Casandra Hall vs Oliver Bekker (15:00 – 16:00) VST Match 4: Heinrich Bruiners vs Lejan Lewthwaite (16:30 – 17:30) Sunday 7 June VST Semi-Final 1 (12:00 – 13:00) VST Semi-Final 2 (13:30 – 14:30) VST Final (15:00 – 16:00)
GolfRSA reaction to High Court RulingIn light of the Gauteng High Court Ruling that declared the country’s Alert Levels 3 and 4 lockdown regulations unconstitutional and invalid, GolfRSA in conjunction with all the golf bodies, is taking action and legal advice to ascertain the repercussions the ruling holds in terms of the ongoing discussions between GolfRSA and the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture. The High Court suspended the declaration of invalidity of the regulations for 14 business days, meaning that the current Alert Level 3 regulations remain in effect until 24 June 2020 or such sooner time that the Minister amends and republishes the regulations. It is not clear whether the ruling impacts the positive progress we have made in our consultation with the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture – or not. But once we have a better understanding of our position, we intend to take the appropriate action to ensure that our bid to re-open the golf industry at level 3 remains on track. The ruling casts legal uncertainty over the country’s regulations at a time when Covid-19 cases and deaths continue to rise. However, we remain firm and committed to our position that we can return to golf safely. We reiterate that our golf facilities are ready. We have been hard at work since the start of the lockdown to put Covid-19 protocols in place. We are prepared for the return of golf in line with our comprehensive Risk Mitigation Strategy for golf facilities, which adheres to all the demands of the government’s health regulations. In addition to the Best Practice Protocols in place, GolfRSA has purchased the advanced version of HealthDocs App, which will ensure that all golf clubs and facilities address the Covid-19 compliance regulations in terms of digital screening, monitoring, tracking and recording of all staff and golfers who enter a facility. We firmly believe we are on the right path and we are intent on seeing this process through. But we will consider every other option available to us. This is vital, as only through the return of golfers to the courses can we save the clubs, resuscitate the R48 billion (pa) golf industry and mitigate significant job losses amongst the more than 40 000 people directly employed. Sincerely
|Grant Hepburn||Selwyn Nathan||Ivano Ficalbi||Chris van der Merwe|
|GolfRSA||Sunshine Tour||PGA of South Africa||Club Manager Association of SA|
GolfRSA InformationFor all the latest news, information and guidelines surrounding golf and its return please visit the GolfRSA website and their Covid-19 Information Centre. Link - www.golfrsa.com
Following the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture’s briefing this morning, GolfRSA on behalf of all South African golf bodies, would like to go on record in expressing our disappointment around the continued uncertainty in terms of where the return of golf stands at Alert Level 3.
There are sufficient examples globally that have proven that golf can return safely and in so doing, reignite the industry.
We have been clear with the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, through our detailed proposals and supporting documents, that a prerequisite for any professional golf to be practiced or played is for golf facilities to be open to all.
Golf clubs in the main worldwide derive their revenue from amateur golfers playing golf and this is essential for golf courses to survive. There are approximately 40 000 people employed by golf clubs across South Africa, and 85% of these employees fall in the most vulnerable economic sector.
Our overriding priority is to save jobs without adding any risk.
All South African golf bodies are united in their belief that we are well-prepared for a safe return of golf. We have the necessary protocols in place, including a comprehensive Risk Mitigation Strategy, Best Practice Guidelines and the advanced version of Healthdocs – an all-inclusive screening and monitoring application – available at all golf clubs.
Golf is played in wide open spaces and lends itself naturally to social distancing. The sport is globally recognised as healthy exercise for persons of all ages and is also an excellent stress-reliever.
We are acutely aware of government’s priority to safeguard lives, restrict the spread of the coronavirus and to save jobs in order to revive the economy. It is our strong belief that without the return of golf and opening up of golf facilities, the industry will collapse.
We will urgently pursue all avenues to engage with the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, including the Sports Steering Committee and Appeals Committee as referenced by the Minister of Department of Sports, Arts and Culture.
Grant Hepburn - CEO GolfRSA
Selwyn Nathan - Commissioner Sunshine Tour
Ivano Ficalbi - Chief Executive PGA of South Africa
Chris van der Merwe - Chairperson Club Manager Association of SA
Statement from GolfRSAFurther to the regulations in respect of Alert Level 3 announced on Thursday, 28 May 2020, we would like to address the concerns of the entire golf industry. The vague nature of the regulations has led to different interpretations and was fuelled by misleading information in the media. In a video conference meeting with the Director-General of the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture and his team earlier today, it was confirmed that as things currently stand, golf courses will not be allowed to open under the Alert Level 3 regulations. However, please rest assured that we are still in ongoing discussions with the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture on your behalf. The department is in turn actively engaging with the National Command Council in order to seek more clarity on golf and other non-contact sports ahead of the Minister’s briefing on Saturday, 29 May. GolfRSA, the Sunshine Tour, the PGA of South Africa and the Club Management Association of Southern Africa are firmly united in their belief that golf courses and facilities should open for all golfers. Best Practice in other parts of the world has seen golf return for recreation and exercise in accordance with Covid-19 protocols. These bodies all support the belief that golf for all should return before any professional golf tournaments resume. It was reiterated in the conference call with the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture today that the survival of the golf industry is dependent on a bottom-up approach. Revenue generated by amateur participation is what funds the facilities that, in turn, employ thousands of people. The professional game is entirely dependent on this eco-system for its existence. Fellow golfers, the industry is too valuable to all of us to make rash and uncalculated decisions and unity amongst all the role players in golf is arguably now more important than it has been since the lockdown started. We ask all golf industry role players, members, golfers and staff to exercise patience and to give us your support as we continue to consult with government on your behalf. To avoid misinformation and confusion, we urge you to consult the latest updates on the Covid-19 Hubs on our respective official websites and our official social media platforms. GOLFRSA Website: www.golfrsa.com Facebook: @Golf RSA Twitter: @GolfRSA Instagram: @golfrsa PGA OF SOUTH AFRICA Website: https://pga.co.za/ Facebook: @PGASouthAfrica Twitter: @PGASA Instagram: @pga_sa CLUB MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHERN AFRICA Website: https://www.clubmanagement.co.za/ Facebook: @SAClubManagers Twitter: @SAClubManagers SUNSHINE TOUR Website: https://sunshinetour.com/ Facebook: @SunshineTourGolf Twitter: @Sunshine_Tour Instagram: @sunshinetourgolf
New date announced for 2020 Nedbank Golf ChallengeBy Michael Vlismas
The European Tour has announced a new date for the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player as part of its revised 2020 schedule.
‘Africa’s Major’ is one of four rescheduled Rolex Series events and is now scheduled for December 3-6 at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City. It will remain the penultimate tournament of the European Tour season and will be followed by the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, which will now take place from December 10-13 at Jumeirah Golf Estates, where the 2020 Race to Dubai Champion will be crowned.
Tournament host Gary Player was amongst the first to express his delight about the new date for the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
“I am so excited that a date has been set for the Nedbank Golf Challenge,” said Player. “It’s one of South Africa’s favourite sporting events. I’m sure the public will be as elated as I am. The tournament does so much good for tourism and advertising our beautiful country. I’m eternally grateful for the European Tour and all our sponsors involved.”
Mike Brown, Chief Executive Nedbank Group, said: “Despite the unprecedented challenges that we are currently facing in overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic, we trust the 40th anniversary of the Nedbank Golf Challenge – now back in its early December timeslot – will give millions of South Africans and sports fans around the world something very special to look forward to. Our brand has become synonymous with ‘Africa’s Major’, a showcase of our country to the world and a household name in the world of golf having played host to the world’s leading golfers. As Nelson Mandela reminded us – Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.”
Anthony Leeming, Chief Executive Sun International, said: “This has been an unprecedented time for all of us in golf, and we’re grateful to the European Tour, Nedbank and all of our partners in working together to ensure that we can still present the 2020 Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player. The Nedbank Golf Challenge is a week in South African sport that brings tremendous joy to so many people and we look forward to continuing this in such trying times for everybody. As a showcase event for us as a resort and one that we take immense pride and pleasure in, we look forward to hosting another edition of ‘Africa’s Major’ in a safe and responsible manner and in ongoing consultation with the South African government and relevant health departments.”
The Nedbank Golf Challenge will also form part of the European Tour’s new ‘Golf for Good’ initiative, which will include all European Tour tournaments from July until December. ‘Golf for Good’ aims to give back in four key areas:
▪ Helping the communities in which the European Tour plays
▪ Rewarding the true heroes, such as frontline key workers
▪ Raising funds for specific causes
▪ Highlighting once again the many health benefits that golf offers
In South Africa, these ‘Golf for Good’ contributions will be directed towards the local charities and Corporate Social Investment initiatives supported by the Nedbank Golf Challenge and Sun International. More details will be announced.
Following the suspension of the season on March 8, the European Tour will return to action behind closed doors in July with a new UK Swing involving six tournaments being played in July and August
Two further Rolex Series events have also been rescheduled, with the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club moving to October 8-11 and the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club now taking place the following week, October 15-18.
Details of subsequent tournaments on the European Tour from September through to November will be announced in due course, with a variety of scheduling options currently under consideration as the global situation continues to evolve.
Keith Pelley, European Tour Chief Executive, said: “Since the suspension of our 2020 season in early March, we have taken a measured approach in reassessing our schedule, informed every step of the way by our medical advisers and government guidance.
“We have consistently said that safety is our absolute priority and that is why today we are announcing our resumption in two months’ time supported by a comprehensive health strategy which has been led by our medical team.
“Without question, we have had to think differently about the remainder of our 2020 season which is reflected in today’s announcement. As golf’s global Tour, diversity is ordinarily one of our biggest strengths, but in this instance, it has become one of our biggest challenges.
“I want to pay tribute to Rolex, BMW, Aberdeen Standard Investments, the Scottish Government, Nedbank, Sun International, the Sunshine Tour and DP World for their continued commitment to the European Tour which allowed us to move four hugely important tournaments on the European Tour into new dates later in the year.
“Not only did they show flexibility, but they also showed an understanding of the current global situation and we are truly fortunate to have them as partners of the European Tour.”
All European Tour tournaments will be subject to stringent safety and testing protocols. These are outlined in the Tour’s comprehensive Health Strategy which has been developed by Dr Andrew Murray, the European Tour’s Chief Medical Officer, in consultation with health care specialists Cignpost, who will deliver the testing procedure, and advisers in many of the 30 countries the Tour plays. It is a strategy which will be continuously reviewed and will evolve, aligned with South African Government guidance and health guidelines.
APPENDIX 1 - TOURNAMENT DETAILS
Jul 22-25 (W-S): Betfred British Masters hosted by Lee Westwood, Close House Golf Club, Newcastle upon Tyne, England
July 30- Aug 2: English Open, Marriott Forest of Arden, Birmingham, England
Aug 6-9: English Championship, Marriott Hanbury Manor, Hertfordshire, England
Aug 13-16: Celtic Classic, The Celtic Manor Resort, City of Newport, Wales
Aug 20-23: Wales Open, The Celtic Manor Resort, City of Newport, Wales
Aug 27-30: UK Championship, The Belfry, Sutton Coldfield, England
Oct 8-11: Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open, The Renaissance Club, North Berwick, Scotland
Oct 15-18: BMW PGA Championship, Wentworth Club, Virginia Water, England
Dec 3-6: Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, Gary Player CC, Sun City, South Africa
Dec 10-13: DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai, UAE