SHARE ON: [addtoany buttons='facebook,twitter,email']
10 years ago: Van Zyl starts dream run

27th April 2020

10 years ago: Van Zyl starts dream run

In this series, we look back at tournaments that happened when the Sunshine Tour was open for action 10 years ago…

It was a year to remember for Jaco van Zyl back in 2010 as he won four tournaments on his way to a sixth-place finish on the Order of Merit – and he did it in some style at the Vodacom Origins of Golf tournament at Sishen.

With the likes of Ulrich van den Berg, Keith Horne and Justin Walters posting low final rounds, local boys Jbe’ Kruger and Theunis Spangenberg turning the screws, and, most ominously of all, Jean Hugo on his way to a trademark storming 63, Van Zyl did all he had to do to win with his own bogey-free 67 and a sixth title on the Sunshine Tour.

Van Zyl had set off like a house on fire in the first round: He had five birdies and an eagle on his scorecard without a dropped shot. He started his round on the 10th, and was quickly into his work with an eagle on the longest hole on the course, the 520-metre 11th. He followed it up with a birdie on 14, and then three in a row from 16 to 18. There was just a single gain as he turned for home on the front nine, but it was all enough for him to be a shot clear of local veteran Des Terblanche at the end of the day.

He followed that with a four-under 68 in the second round. He’d started that as if he meant to make sure he was uncatchable, with five birdies and not a single dropped shot in the opening nine. But consecutive bogeys after the turn set him back a little, and he picked up just one of those two shots lost when he birdied the 14th.

Charl Coetzee, Adilson Da Silva and Chris Swanepoel had made up a lot of ground on Van Zyl, and were lurking just one and two strokes back as the final round began. Kruger, who learnt his golf at Sishen, was three back, Hugo five, Spangenberg six, Van den Berg eight and Walters nine.

Walters was the first to move, with two eagles and four birdies on his way to a 64, but it was a few shots short of being a challenging clubhouse target for Van Zyl. Van den Berg made 11 birdies and two bogeys in his 63, and that meant Van Zyl was going to have to go two-under to win.

Spangenberg and Kruger carded 64 and 65 respectively, which meant Van Zyl had to do some real work to finish ahead of them. But it was Hugo’s 63 – which included a hole-in-one on the eighth, and eagle on the second and three more birdies on his front nine of 29 – which was an attention-seeker. He kept the pedal to the metal with four more birdies on his way home, but two bogeys kept him within the sights of Van Zyl.

The 36-hole leader started in exactly the way he would have wanted: Consecutive birdies on the opening holes made it clear he was going to be tough to stop. An eagle on the sixth saw him turn in 32 and he was in sight of the title.

It was a composed homeward nine for Van Zyl, as he made eight pars, and the birdie he needed to edge into the lead came on the 14th. That was all he needed and he cruised home to set off a series of wins which would make it a year to remember for him.


SHARE ON: [addtoany buttons='facebook,twitter,email']
Looking back: The last Africa Open

24th April 2020

Looking back: Fisher wins last Africa Open

The Africa Open was played eight times, and produced a list of great South African names as champions. But can you remember who the last winner of the tournament at East London Golf Club was?

Sure, you can recall the two-in-a-row performance from Louis Oosthuizen in 2011 and 2012. And you can recall that Retief Goosen’s last title on the Sunshine Tour came in 2009 in the second edition of the event. If you’re really sharp, you’ll even remember that Shaun Norris won the inaugural tournament in 2008 when it was played at the Fish River Sun Country Club near Port Alfred.

So who was the last man to win the title? It was Trevor Fisher Jnr in 2015, when he romped to 24-under-par for the week for a five-stroke victory over England’s Matt Ford, with Eduardo de la Riva, Jorge Campillo and Morten Orum Madsen in a share of third another three strokes back.

It was a third-round 63 – nine-under-par – which set up Fisher for the win after Ford had led at the halfway mark. The Modderfontein pro took a two-stroke lead into Sunday with that brilliant performance on the Saturday.

He made seven birdies and an eagle in the third round in a display of flawless golf which propelled him into a position to win his maiden European Tour title. He’d also made only two other bogeys in the tournament’s first two rounds – at the eighth in the first round, and on the first in the second.

There were no outward signs of any nerves as he birdied the first and third holes, while Ford, his nearest challenger, did the same. But Fisher appeared to falter with a bogey on the fifth. Ford pounced with birdies in six and seven, and Fisher was able to hold the Englishman at bay with answering birdies there too.

The turning point came on the ninth, when Ford dropped a shot and Fisher birdied to restore his lead to two strokes as the pair headed to the homeward nine.

Fisher pressed home his advantage with a birdie on 10 as Ford embarked on a run of four successive pars. Just marking time was not going to stop the flying Fisher, however, as the South African also made four successive pars from 11 to 14.

A birdie for Ford on 14 brought the gap back to two, but it galvanised Fisher into action. He responded to the challenge with birdies on 15 and 16, and rounded off the rout with a sublime birdie on the closing 18th as he came home in 31 for a comfortable victory.

It was a significant win for Fisher: It secured the 36-year-old the elusive European Tour card he had been chasing for nearly a decade. “I’ve tried so hard to get that European Tour card, for so many years. Obviously it’s a massive step for my career because that’s where all South African golfers want to be,” he said.

That was to be the last playing of the Africa Open on a course that was much-loved by the Sunshine Tour and European Tour professionals alike – unless it gets resurrected in a world after lockdown!


SHARE ON: [addtoany buttons='facebook,twitter,email']
10 years ago: Jbe’ Kruger wins in Zimbabwe 1

22nd April 2020

10 years ago: Jbe’ Kruger wins in Zimbabwe

In this series, we look back at tournaments that happened when the Sunshine Tour was open for action 10 years ago…

His maiden Sunshine Tour victory had come in 2009 in the Zambia Open, and, in late April 2010, Jbe’ Kruger was turning it on in a flashy display of low scoring to race to a two-stroke victory in the Africom Zimbabwe Open from April 21-24 at Royal Harare Golf Club.

Anthony Michael held the 54-hole lead, two strokes clear of local hero Marc Cayeux. Kruger, Ulrich van den Berg, Eugen Marugi and Jaco Van Zyl were all grouped on 12-under-par, three shots off the pace.

It was Michael’s second-round 62 which caught the eye, however, and even though he and Cayeux had carded even-par 72s for the third round, the final-round battle looked to be between the two of them. But ignoring Kruger’s 68-69-67 opening would not have been in the thinking of any of the contenders, as he already had a good few low closing rounds to his name.

Only Van den Berg, Van Zyl and local Ryan Cairns had gone lower than Kruger in the third round with their 66s, so the youngster who had been a professional since January 2007, and who had showed so well in January’s Africa Open with his share of third behind winner Charl Schwartzel.

Kruger didn’t open his charge for the top of the leaderboard spectacularly: A birdie on the first was followed by pars on the par-three second and the par-five third – a missed opportunity for sure. He birdied the fourth and fifth, however, to get to the turn in two-under – 14-under for the tournament – and still very much in the mix.

Michael turned in level par, and Van Zyl in three-under. Van Zyl picked up another shot on the 11th to go to the front, and a birdie on 12 seemed to set him up for a charge for home.

But Kruger was just getting started: He made eagle three on the 530-yrd 12th before settling himself with a par on the 448-yard 13th. That was the signal for him to put his foot to the floor as he set off in pursuit of his second Sunshine Tour title. Three consecutive birdies from 13 to 15 put him clear as Van Zyl birdied 13, and had to wait until the 17th for another gain to attempt to haul in the flying Kruger.

It was not enough, however, as Van Zyl, 20 minutes ahead of Kruger, made his fourth consecutive par on the deceptively tough closing par-four 18th.

That left Kruger to par his way home to maintain his lead, while, behind him, only Cayeux had much of a chance, and his two birdies in the closing nine were enough for a three-under 69, but not for victory.

And so Kruger’s second victory – like his first – came outside South Africa.


SHARE ON: [addtoany buttons='facebook,twitter,email']
The hole I miss playing right now - players speak 1

21st April 2020

The hole I miss playing right now – players speak

Some look daunting. Some look gorgeous to the eye. Some are treacherously inviting. No matter the golf course, there’s always that one hole that any player can’t wait to play again, or wishes never to lay eyes upon for the remainder of their careers.

With the national lockdown in full effect and social distancing encouraged as a way to fight the spread of the COVID-19 (coronavirus), professional golfers – while appreciating the importance of staying at home and limiting social contact, and while they are grateful to spend time with families – are itching to get out onto the fairways.

“I miss feeling fearful on the 10th tee box at Nkana Golf Club,” Michael Palmer says, it’s not my favourite hole by any stretch of the imagination but I miss having to overcome that feeling of pressure on that tee box. It’s a very tight tee shot with an angle and all sorts of trees there which makes it very daunting. That’s the hole I miss playing right now.” Nkana Golf Club is in Kitwe up the Copperbelt region of Zambia and is host to the Mopani Redpath Zambia Open.

Longing for the same thrill as Palmer feels when stepping up to the 10th at Nkana Golf Club in Ndola, Toto Thimba Jr admits that the hole he misses playing isn’t the easiest and that is exactly what he misses about it.

“The eighth hole at the Gary Player Country Club,” he says, “that hole is tough. That hole makes you think. You will be five-under after round one and get there on day two and miss the cut. I miss it because it challenges me, it’s not your easy hole. You will think hard there.” The Gary Player Country Club is home to ‘Africa’s Major’, the Nedbank Golf Challenge.

Nevertheless, while some holes will make a player earn his money for sure as Thimba rightly points out, some are just so beautiful so that they become a distraction when a player isn’t focused on the job at hand.

“I miss playing the 13th hole at Leopard Creek,” says Ruan De Smidt, “that hole is unreal. There are not many golf courses with features like those and just standing there and looking down at the river is something special.”

Daniel van Tonder who came sixth at last year’s Alfred Dunhill Championship says the one hole he misses playing is the 18th hole at Leopard Creek. “That hole has been kind to me,” he says.

In last year’s competition there, Van Tonder walked away with a birdie, two pars and bogey in the four days he played that hole, to eventually finish sixth in the tournament. “It’s a beautiful hole and I really like Leopard Creek.”


SHARE ON: [addtoany buttons='facebook,twitter,email']
40 years of an unlikely caddie friendship

15th April 2020

40 years of an unlikely caddie friendship

By PGA Tour.

It has been such a fabric of golf for as long as the game has been played competitively, this sense of kinship that oozes, almost mystically. Cultural differences are no match for golf’s ability to galvanize and while you might speak different languages, when you are surrounded by golf, translators are not necessary.

Such is why global golf is so enchanting. Why a young American can hone his game on the PGA TOUR Latinoamerica and why a 21-year-old from South Korea can fit in seamlessly in the United States. Why a golfer from the heartland of America learned to love Scottish links and why a Spaniard who discovered the magic of ball-striking with a 3-iron on his local beach grabbed our fascination while patrolling the hallowed fairways of a golf shrine a continent away.

With golf, everything is possible, and all things are comfortable. More than ever, we need to remind one another of that.

For proof, consider the inspiring story of a young American with a sense of adventure and promising golf game, Jimmy Johnson, and a young South African caddie in possession of a relentless work ethic and a desire to make a better life for himself, Zack Rasego. Their improbable friendship stretches back 40 years to when Johnson left North Texas State University (now University of North Texas) and pursued pro golf in South Africa, roughly 9,000 miles away.

Rasego’s trip wasn’t quite that far, but the five miles or so from his home in Sun City, South Africa, to the Gary Player Country Club where he caddied had to be covered on foot. And quickly, of course, so after dropping off his schoolbooks, Rasego would run miles, just so he could walk miles, before running miles on his return trip.

“I would get three-fifty,” he once said, and Johnson clarified to a reporter that Rasego meant $3.50.

It has been the essence of their friendship for 40 years now, that a Texas kid with uncanny ease can shine the light on a South African’s humility. And that a proud South African who grew up enveloped by apartheid can shower his American mentor with the highest praise afforded a friendship.

“He’s a brother,” said Rasego.

All this explains why, when the world turned upside down last month and the coronavirus pandemic led PGA TOUR officials to cancel THE PLAYERS Championship after the first round, Rasego knew where to turn. Health concerns dominated everyone’s thoughts, but sudden travel dilemmas were a close second.

Rasego’s schedule had been solidly planned thanks to the success of his player, rising South African star Christiaan Bezuidenhout. From THE PLAYERS Championship to the Valspar Championship, then the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play, and presumably the Masters. It would be four elite tournaments in five weeks, but in a matter of hours, it all evaporated – for reasons Rasego understood and agreed with, no question. Still, the rush of concerns was daunting.

Could he travel on his South African passport? Could he even get flights? Was his family safe? Where would he go until clarity surfaced? By nature, calm and focused, Rasego felt a sense of anxiety encroaching.

Fortunately, the magic of golf long ago had graced Rasego and so a familiar arm was extended to knock away fear. It was slipped over Rasego’s shoulder. Johnson had him covered.

At 22, Johnson arrived in South Africa with big dreams and a willingness to learn.

His collegiate career at North Texas had given him a chance to compete against an array of names that would become notable – Hal Sutton at Centenary, Fred Couples and David Ishii at the University of Houston, Chip Beck at Georgia, Phil Blackmar at Texas, Bob Tway and Lindy Miller at Oklahoma State, Payne Stewart at Southern Methodist. Johnson played a steady diet of quality tournaments in the summer, and in 1978 at Plainfield Country Club, he lost in the third round of the U.S. Amateur match play to Bobby Clampett.

All of it offered him a measurement of his game. It needed work, yes, but the Sunshine Tour offered good competition and quality organization, and so Johnson was invested in the process. He couldn’t help but notice the 15-year-old caddie who seemed intent in his duties, too.

“Zack in that first year was working for Gary Player’s son, Wayne,” recalled Johnson, “but you could tell he was prepared and within a few years, you knew he was just about the best caddie out there.”

When opportunities arrived to play in European Tour events outside of South Africa, “I wanted the best caddie,” said Johnson. He chose Rasego.

Where was the connection between two young men born worlds apart? Johnson laughed and chalked it up to the magic of golf. But he added with reverence: “Basically, we were very good friends. We both had humble upbringings, and we knew all about tough struggles and what they were about.”

Three times Johnson made it to the finals of the PGA TOUR Qualifying tournament, only to fall short. But with the Sunshine Tour, he had a viable option; it was a spirited era, with veterans such as Tony Johnstone and Fulton Allem and Nick Price and John Bland standing in against young kids like Ernie Els and Retief Goosen. Johnson thoroughly enjoyed his days over there.

With Rasego as his caddie and friend, there was team success to be remembered fondly. The Meyerton Open in 1989 when Johnson lost in a three-way playoff to Gary Gilchrist. And more happily, the Bastille Players Tournament in October of 1991, when Johnson shot 70-67-73 at Paarl Golf Club on the Western Cape to win.

Several years later, Johnson was at the end of his playing career when presented a premium opportunity – caddie for Price. The Zimbabwean had won major championships in 1992 (PGA Championship) and ’94 (Open Championship and a second PGA) and enjoyed a run at world No. 1 for the bulk of 1994, all while working with longtime caddie Jeff “Squeeky” Medlen. When Medlen, suffering from leukemia, stepped aside in late 1996 (he would pass away in June of ’97), Johnson joined Price, his onetime Sunshine Tour compatriot.

The job with Price meant Johnson would return to America. But by then, he had forged a dynamic friendship with Rasego that would remain intact even if they were continents apart. Their bond was that solid.

“Jimmy has helped me so much,” Rasego said.

With global golf being a very real aspect of the professional landscape, roads traveled by Johnson and Rasego have intersected often. At World Golf Championships in Miami, Arizona, Ohio, Texas, Mexico, and China; at major championships on the great links of England and Scotland; at vaunted Augusta National; and at classic layouts used by the PGA and U.S. Open.

When he helped Louis Oosthuizen win the Claret Jug at the 2010 Open Championship, Rasego moved well to the side of the spotlight. “I just did my job,” he said that day in St. Andrews. “I am a caddie. It’s all I’ve wanted to be.”

Standing even further in the shadows was Johnson, who by then was helping Steve Stricker to a brilliant stretch of golf. His work week was done, but Johnson wanted to be among the first to congratulate Rasego. It has worked the other way, too, which is how the foundations to great friendships are poured.

Their highlights have been many – Johnson working for Price’s final three PGA TOUR wins, then for more than a half-dozen victories with Stricker, before joining Justin Thomas and helping to steer his meteoric rise to No. 1 and the 2017 PGA Championship, ending that magical season with the FedExCup title.

Rasego lays claim to an intriguing run of Open Championships moments – winning caddie with Gary Player in the 1988 Senior Open; then in 2010 at the Old Course; and in 2017 he worked for Branden Grace when the South African posted 62 at Royal Birkdale, the lowest score in a major championship. Now, Rasego is enjoying the front-row view of the fast-moving Bezuidenhout.

On the strength of wins at the Andalucia Masters in 2019 and Dimension Data in 2020, plus a pair of seconds and two thirds, Bezuidenhout had pushed inside the Top 50 in the OWGR and his first-ever spot in the Masters was a very real possibility before the coronavirus news put a halt to the season. Bezuidenhout has since been confirmed for a spot in the rescheduled Masters in November.

Johnson gives credit to Bezuidenhout’s rise to the patient hand of Rasego. But humility being the South African’s strong suit, Rasego points to his player. “He’s a good player, very calm,” he said.

When he was looking for work more than a year ago, Rasego was set to fly to Dubai “just to get my face out there,” he said. “When you’re not there, people forget you.”

Maybe not, because Grant Veenstra, a former player on the Sunshine Tour who now coaches Bezuidenhout, reached out last year to ask if Rasego would work for the 25-year-old. Johnson points to that as proof that Rasego’s work is greatly respected, but the gentleman from Sun City shrugs.

“I believe everything happens for a reason,” he said. “I’ve been very fortunate. I don’t take any of this for granted.”

That extends to the one constant in his professional career in golf the last 40 years – his friendship with Johnson. Disconcerting as the situation was when tournaments were canceled and the fear of an invisible virus swept the world, “I can always depend on Zack and Zack knows he always has a base here (in the U.S.) when he needs it,” said Johnson.

His friend smiled.

“When times are tough and you need someone to lean on, I know I can count on Jimmy,” said Rasego.

And you know what else they each agree on? That stepping aside during this health crisis is the right thing to do, but that golf will come through it stronger than ever and galvanize people as it always has.

It’s magical in that way. Their friendship is proof.

SHARE ON: [addtoany buttons='facebook,twitter,email']
Great Masters for Harding – in computer simulation

13th April 2020

Great Masters for Harding – in computer simulation

Justin Harding finished in a share of fourth in the Masters behind winner Jon Rahm last week – in a computer simulation using data processed by the company DataGolf.

Harding, who played in his maiden outing in the year’s opening major championship last year and secured his return to Augusta National with a share of 12th, was set to play again this year until the tournament was postponed until November due to the coronavirus pandemic.

With the world missing out on something called ‘a tradition unlike any other’,’s Sean Zak picked up on an idea that has its roots in computerised predictions such as the January 1970 ‘bout’ between Rocky Marciano and Muhammad Ali (the computer determined that Marciano would have won by knock-out in the 13th round) and the clash between chess champion Garry Kasparov and the computer Deep Blue.

“DataGolf’s Masters modelling accounted for player skill and recent form, but also factored in historical performances at Augusta,” wrote Zak. “Is there an element of randomness to the process? Of course! The first time you run a simulation, for example, will produce different results from the seventh or 23rd time you run it. But it’s still a ton of fun to see how things shake out. For what would have been the 84th playing of the Masters, we asked for the 84th single-run simulation of how DataGolf’s system would predict this year’s event.”

It was a ‘tournament’ dominated by Rahm, as the Spaniard opened with a seven-under 65. He relinquished sole possession of the lead after a second-round 74, sharing the top of the leaderboard with Lee Westwood and Bubba Watson. After a third-round 71, he was again on top with Tommy Fleetwood, and a closing 68 pulled him one shot clear of the fast-finishing Dustin Johnson, who carded a 63 to share second with Adam Scott.

Harding was eight shots behind Rahm after his opening 73, but he pulled things back with the round of the day in the second round, a four-under 68, a score matched only my Cameron Smith. After being one-over through six in the third round, Harding finished that round in level-par to share sixth with Scott, Sergio Garcia and Daniel Im.

While Johnson posted the clubhouse target with his 63 in the final round, Harding kept himself very much in the mix as he reached the 12th in two-under. He picked up two more shots on his way in to close at seven-under for the tournament, just three behind Rahm.

Of course, this is just a computer simulation, but the data used confirms that Augusta National is likely to be a course where Harding can flourish, and it makes the November date he has there all the more enticing.

For the record, other South African ‘performances’ were: Dylan Frittelli one-under for a share of 16th, Louis Oosthuizen at level-par (T18), Erik van Rooyen at two-over (T27), and Christiaan Bezuidenhout seven-over (T51). Two South African past Masters champions, Trevor Immelman and Charl Schwartzel, missed the cut, according to the computer modelling.

For the full story, click here.


SHARE ON: [addtoany buttons='facebook,twitter,email']
Presidents Cup: Immelman to captain 2021 international team

8th April 2020

Presidents Cup: Immelman to captain 2021 international team

Presidents Cup.

Presidents Cup and PGA TOUR officials have announced South African and Masters champion Trevor Immelman has been named captain of the International Team for the 2021 Presidents Cup, which will be staged at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Immelman served as a captain’s assistant under fellow countryman Ernie Els at the 2019 Presidents Cup, which saw the International Team build its biggest lead in Presidents Cup history before falling to a Tiger Woods-led U.S. Team, 16-14, at The Royal Melbourne Golf Club, in Melbourne, Australia.

“In 2005, I played in my first Presidents Cup under captain Gary Player, which was an experience as a 25-year-old, I will never forget.  Shortly after, I earned my first PGA TOUR victory in 2006, so you could say the Presidents Cup was a huge part of launching my PGA TOUR career. Being a captain now is an amazing honour,” Immelman said. “The Presidents Cup and the PGA TOUR have been a massive part of my career, and so for me to now lead the International Team is something that is going to be one of the highlights of my career and something that am extremely excited about.”

Immelman is a two-time Presidents Cup competitor (2005, 2007) and owns two PGA TOUR titles and 11 worldwide victories including the 2008 Masters Tournament.

“The International Team is gaining a driven, passionate and affable new leader in Trevor Immelman,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. “Trevor is universally respected in the world of golf, and he will receive immense support as he navigates this new and exciting challenge. His love for the game and the Presidents Cup made him an ideal captain’s assistant for Ernie Els in 2019, and I know Trevor is eager to build on the momentum that Ernie and the International Team generated at Royal Melbourne this past December.”

Immelman is the seventh International Team Captain (Ernie Els – 2019; Nick Price – 2017, 2015, 2013; Greg Norman – 2011, 2009; Gary Player – 2007, 2005, 2003; Peter Thomson– 2000, 1998, 1996; David Graham – 1994) and third South African to helm the Internationals, joining Els and Player. Immelman, who will be 41 years old at the time of the competition, will be the youngest International Team Captain in Presidents Cup history.

“I think it will add a slightly different dynamic being the youngest captain in Presidents Cup history, but that trend really started in Melbourne, with Tiger and Ernie, who were still competing in their own right,” Immelman said. “I imagine our team will eventually be comprised of a combination of guys that I have played a lot with over the years and youngsters that I’ve followed and studied due to my broadcasting career. One thing that I know for sure is that  our team will come together as one unit, have a blast and give it our absolute best.”

In 2017, Immelman had his first experience as a captain during the first-ever Junior Presidents Cup, where he led the International Team in the new junior competition at Plainfield Country Club in Edison, New Jersey, just days prior to the 2017 Presidents Cup at Liberty National.

Immelman then served as one of four captain’s assistants for Els at the 2019 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne alongside K.J. Choi, Geoff Ogilvy and Mike Weir.

“My relationship with Trevor goes way back and I have always had the utmost respect for him as a player and a person,” Els said. “Trevor was an invaluable member of our team and completely bought into what we were trying to do at Royal Melbourne, so it is gratifying to see him take this next step and lead the International Team.”

Immelman will look to maintain the momentum following Els’ captaincy.

“Ernie found a way to make all the right moves once we got down to Australia, to make guys feel comfortable in the team environment and comfortable in their own skin to where they could really go out there and compete,” Immelman said. “And he gave our team an identity; something we could grab on to. I think that is going to be his legacy moving forward, and it’ll be up to me and the rest of our leadership team in years to come to continue from that platform.”

Quail Hollow Club was originally designed by famed golf course architect George Cobb in 1961 to capture the beauty as well as challenging terrain of the Piedmont region. In the intervening years, the course has undergone a series of improvements, including modifications to several holes by Arnold Palmer in 1986, a redesign by Tom Fazio in 1997 and modifications by Tom Fazio to several holes in the summer of 2016.

“Quail Hollow is such a special place,” Immelman said. “As players, we’ve always loved the pristine condition and the challenge it presents for the world’s best players. The course is always a great test and playing it in a match-play event will bring new challenges and new excitement as I think players will play more aggressively which will be fun to watch.

“The people in Charlotte, and in the Carolinas overall, are some of the best sports fans in the world. The crowds and the fans’ support will be immense and will create a fantastic atmosphere.”

Quail Hollow Club has hosted the Wells Fargo Championship since 2003 and brought the PGA Championship to Charlotte in 2017.

“We offer our sincere congratulations to Trevor and his family on this incredible honour and we look forward to welcoming him to Charlotte for what will a momentous event in the city’s history,” said Presidents Cup Executive Director Adam Sperling. “The level of interest and support we have received from partners and fans in the city and throughout the Carolinas has been unparalleled, and we look forward to continuing to build on that momentum as we close in on September 2021.”

SHARE ON: [addtoany buttons='facebook,twitter,email']
Sunshine Tour salutes essential workers

3rd April 2020

Sunshine Tour salutes essential workers

We salute you!

This is the central message carried by the Sunshine Tour and its players to all those men and women who continue to work during these difficult times when the world must deal with the COVID-19 crisis.

As the number of new COVID-19 cases in the country continues to rise and with the national lockdown in full swing, the unsung heroes of our nation are those who are required to roll up their sleeves and become the vanguard in our push-back against the spread of this virus. They are the doctors, nurses, soldiers, police, service providers our economies can never do without.

“Thank you to the first respondents,” said Jacques Blaauw on a video posted on social media in support of the Sunshine Tour’s #ThankYouToTheEssentialWorkers social media campaign. “You are fighting this CPVID-19 pandemic on the forefront and you are all our heroes. We salute you. To the general public, please be safe, stay indoors.”

Joined by his dog in his video, James Hard du Preez posted: “We just want to say thank you to all the essential workers and the health workers who are on the frontlines during this COVID-19 crisis. A massive thank you to you guys for risking your lives and keeping everything smoothly and hopefully, curing a whole bunch of views.”

While the reality of the situation is dire, a huge effort from everyone, and in support of the work done by the essential workers in the medical fields and other areas, can contribute a great deal in advancing the fight and ultimately ridding our nation of this virus.

“It is important that we all stay safe and stay at home,” said Thabiso Ngcobo in his message, “We can definitely flatten this curve if everyone does their part.”

In an unprecedented move in South African professional golf, the Sunshine Tour announced that it will pay a monthly stipend to its member professionals, and on a scale according to their various categories of membership, for the months of April and May 2020, in a gesture of solidarity and in the spirit of taking care of its members during these difficult times.

SHARE ON: [addtoany buttons='facebook,twitter,email']
Financial relief for players and caddies announced

2nd April 2020

Financial relief for players and caddies announced

The Sunshine Tour, in support of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call for social solidarity from all South Africans in the fight against COVID-19, has announced a comprehensive financial relief programme for South African men’s and women’s professional golf.

In an unprecedented move in South African professional golf, the Sunshine Tour will pay a monthly stipend to its member professionals, and on a scale according to their various categories of membership, for the months of April and May 2020.

The Women’s Professional Golf Association (WPGA), in partnership with the Sunshine Ladies Tour, announced a similar financial programme for the top 25 South African professionals on the Sunshine Ladies Tour.

The Sunshine Tour has also committed to paying a monthly stipend for April and May 2020 to all the caddies who are registered with the South African Caddie Association (SACA) and who have been active in the 2019-2020 Sunshine Tour season.

This is to assist them in meeting their financial obligations at a time when professional golf worldwide has been suspended because of COVID-19. The Sunshine Tour, in accordance with world golf, has already suspended all of its activities as of 16 March 2020.

The executive and staff of the Sunshine Tour, as well as the executive of GolfRSA and the WPGA, have also agreed to a voluntary salary reduction, based on what is affordable to each staff member, for the months of April and May 2020.

“As our President has stated, these are extraordinary times for our country, and they require an extraordinary response from all South Africans,” said Sunshine Tour Commissioner Selwyn Nathan.

“Our Board has fully endorsed and approved this financial plan for our members, and those of the WPGA and the Sunshine Ladies Tour, as we believe wholeheartedly that this is the right course of action to support our membership base in a manner and on a level that will ensure the longevity of our Tours and help our members through these trying times.

“I would like to thank GolfRSA and the WPGA for the solidarity they have shown in this regard, and also say a special thank you to all the staff of the various Tours for the financial sacrifice they are willing to make in what are clearly very difficult and uncertain times for them as well.

“South African professional golf is a very close family, and as such we will stick together in times of crisis. To quote our President, ‘Our success relies on the effort and energies of every citizen and their commitment to help assist others’. As the South African golf family, we are united in making this commitment.”