23rd November 2022

Sunshine Tour announces new DP World Tour and Challenge Tour growth

The Sunshine Tour has strengthened its global partnership with the DP World Tour with the announcement of two new DP World Tour events and four Challenge Tour events on the schedule in 2023, with increased prize money and live coverage on SuperSport.

The two new DP World Tour events will begin with the $1.5 million SDC Championship to be played at St Francis Links in the Eastern Cape from 16-19 March. SDC has grown its commitment to the Sunshine Tour following its debut as a sponsor of a Challenge Tour co-sanctioned event in 2022 and will now be a title partner of events on both the DP World Tour and Challenge Tour schedules in South Africa in 2023.

This will be followed by the $1.5 million Jonsson Workwear Open, which will be played at Steyn City in Johannesburg from 23-26 March. Jonsson Workwear has also grown its commitment to the Sunshine Tour from a Challenge Tour event in 2022 to a major DP World Tour event in 2023. This also marks the second year that Steyn City will host a DP World Tour event.

Both these tournaments will take on even greater significance on the global stage as they offer Ryder Cup points to the European professionals competing in a Ryder Cup year. They join this week’s Joburg Open at Houghton Golf Club, the Investec South African Open Championship (December 1-4), the Alfred Dunhill Championship (December 8-11) and the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open (December 15-18) to make it six co-sanctioned events between the Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour on the latter’s 2023 Race to Dubai presented by Rolex. 

“We are delighted to further strengthen our longstanding relationship with the Sunshine Tour by adding these two new co-sanctioned tournaments that significantly enhance what has always been a popular destination for our members. We have worked very hard with the Sunshine Tour to develop the global pathway that we now offer and we’re seeing the fruits of this with the exciting new talent emerging from the Sunshine Tour and earning a place on the DP World Tour,” said Keith Pelley, Chief Executive Officer of the DP World Tour.

The Sunshine Tour will also host its own R2 million tournament before the start of the two new DP World Tour events from 9-12 March purely for Sunshine Tour members, the details of which will be announced shortly.

The four Challenge Tour events that have been confirmed for 2023 all feature significant increases in prize money and each with a field of 156 professionals.

The Challenge Tour swing in South Africa will start with the Bain’s Whisky Cape Town Open from 2-5 February at Royal Cape Golf Club, where JC Ritchie won the last two editions of an event that helped him to gain his DP World Tour card for this season. The prize money for this tournament has been increased to $350 000.

The Challenge Tour will then travel to Fancourt for the popular Dimension Data Pro-Am from 9-12 February where the prize money has been significantly increased to R7 million – with an additional R300 000 for the pro-am component of the tournament. Since 1996 the Dimension Data Pro-Am has been one of the flagship events on the Sunshine Tour, and in the last three years alone it has helped shape the international careers of champions Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Wilco Nienaber.

It then moves inland for the second SDC Open from 16-19 February at Zebula Golf Estate and Spa, featuring prize money of $350 000. This will be followed by the new $350 000 Nelson Mandela Bay Championship at the links of Humewood Golf Club from 23-26 February, which brings international golf back to one of South Africa’s celebrated courses and a five-time host of the Investec South African Open Championship.

“These events provide our members with valuable playing opportunities at a time of the year when it is difficult to stage events in Europe and I am pleased that through our ever-evolving relationship with the Sunshine Tour we are able to begin our season in South Africa for the fourth year running,” said Jamie Hodges, Head of Challenge Tour.

“We have listened to feedback from our members and worked closely with Thomas Abt and his team to identify the correct events to co-sanction and we are therefore excited to start the 2023 Road to Mallorca season in Cape Town in February.”

Following the four -co-sanctioned events with the Challenge Tour, the current Sunshine Tour season will conclude with the Limpopo Championship from 30 March to 2 April at Euphoria Golf Estate with an increased prize fund of R2 million, the R2 million Stella Artois Players Championship from 13-16 April at Dainfern Golf Estate, and the R2 million Tour Championship at Serengeti Estates from 20-23 April.

Thomas Abt, Commissioner of the Sunshine Tour, said, “We are incredibly excited about what will be another very strong start to the New Year for the Sunshine Tour as we continue to develop and strengthen our relationships with the DP World Tour and Challenge Tour. These relationships play a key role in allowing us to give our members the best possible opportunity to take their careers to the next level as we bring more world-class international golf to our fairways.”

The DP World Tour and the Sunshine Tour last year announced a significant extension to their existing long-term partnership which has already spanned more than a quarter of a century.


22nd November 2022

Pros excited about new challenge in Joburg Open

JOHANNESBURG – A new host golf course brings with it a new challenge for this week’s Joburg Open field, and the leading professionals in this Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour co-sanctioned tournament are excited about what they’ve seen from Houghton Golf Club so far.

After a first look at the course in Tuesday’s pro-am, most of the field agreed that accuracy off the tee and a good short game will be key to success this week when the first round tees off on Thursday.

“The rough is not up this week so I think the scoring will be low, but the greens are pretty slopy so missing on the wrong side of the hole will result in sloppy bogeys. You also need to keep it in play off the tee. The fairways are narrow and tree lined so I feel if you can drive the ball well this week you’ll give yourself lots of chances,” said Christiaan Bezuidenhout, who is looking to add the Joburg Open to his already impressive list of victories in co-sanctioned tournaments on South African fairways.

“The Joburg Open has always been a tournament that I would like to win. I’ve come close a few times and it would be nice to tick this one off.”

Richard Sterne, a two-time winner of the Joburg Open in 2008 and 2013, agrees that the Houghton Golf Club greens will play a big role in deciding this week’s champion.

“There are a couple of tough par fours out here, and the greens are where they’ll tuck the flags and make it tricky. The course is in lovely condition and there isn’t much rough, so it will come down to what you do around the greens and being able to score with the putter.”

George Coetzee, the 2014 Joburg Open champion and a two-time winner on the Sunshine Tour this year, has his focus on a strong game off the tee.

“It’s my first experience of Houghton Golf Club. The golf course looks great and I think everybody will be pretty happy with it this week. You have to shape your shots off the tee pretty well. I’d say your seven iron to wedge game needs to be pretty good around here, and then obviously controlling it on the greens and making a few putts. It’s kind of the same story every week, but I feel this week in particular is going to place greater emphasis on shaping it off the tee and having good control around the greens.”

It was a feeling shared by Shaun Norris, who in March this year made his DP World Tour breakthrough with victory in the Steyn City Championship. “I’d love to add a second DP World Tour title this year. On this golf course, you’ll have to hit the ball well off the tee and then putt well,” he said.

Dylan Naidoo, who has a long history in the Joburg Open as first an invited amateur and now a professional, is equally excited about the new challenge Houghton Golf Club will pose.

“This tournament means a lot to me. I’ve been playing it since I was 16 years old and I’ve really wanted to play better than I have in the past, so I’m excited by a new golf course and a new test. I’m looking forward to it. It’s a great golf course. I played a lot here growing up. I think the scoring will depend on the weather. If it’s windy and cold and wet it’s not going to be that easy. If the sun shines and there isn’t a lot of wind the scoring will be low. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out. But you just have to look at the task in front of you, play the shots, execute the plan, and then you look up and see where you are on the leaderboard.”

And Haydn Porteous is hoping a return to Johannesburg and a tournament he won in 2016 will spark something special in his own game.

“I’m enjoying being home. It’s been a couple of tough seasons for me and to be home and play on familiar ground is nice and hopefully I can get a bit of confidence from that. I haven’t been here for a while but I think it’s a great golf course. There are a lot of tough holes out there but also some holes where you can take advantage. It should be a good week and I think it will be an enjoyable one for all concerned.”

Tickets for the Joburg Open are available at


21st November 2022

Detry adds his name to 2022 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open field

Belgium’s Thomas Detry, one of the most exciting new stars on the PGA Tour, has confirmed his place in a quality field for the 2022 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open at Mont Choisy Le Golf from 15-18 December.

The 29-year-old Detry will join fellow PGA Tour campaigner Dean Burmester, DP World Tour champions George Coetzee, Brandon Stone and Antoine Rozner, Matthieu Pavon who finished second in this event in 2018, the big-hitting Wilco Nienaber, and former European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjørn.

Detry heads to Mauritius at the end of a strong year for the young professional in which he finished in the top-12 in three of the five PGA Tour events he played in his rookie season there – including second place in the Butterfield Bermuda Championship – and also had six top-15 finishes on the DP World Tour. He challenged for the title in the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City before finishing tied 13th.

This will be Detry’s second appearance in the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open after he finished tied fourth in 2019, and he continues a tradition of young stars who had success in this tournament during their global rise in the game. The last two winners of the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open – Rasmus Højgaard and Kurt Kitayama – have both been at the forefront of the new generation of professionals on the DP World Tour and PGA Tour.

The 2022 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open returns to the Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour schedules for the first time since 2019 following the Covid-19 pandemic and has drawn a glittering array of blue-chip sponsors including Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels, Mont Choisy Group, Jaguar, Rogers, Heritage Resorts, IBL, the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA), 3G Mobile, Phoenix Beverages, Air Mauritius, Mautourco, Fenix XCell Apparel, Hertz, Jacobs, C-Care, Emtel and PRO CARTS.


20th November 2022

Player overwhelmed as millions raised for Blair Atholl school

SUN CITY, North West – At the foot of the great elephant Shawu in The Palace of the Lost City stood a great South African. Gary Player held back the tears as he thanked a gathering of Sunshine Tour professionals, sports stars, business leaders and friends for the role they have played in the inaugural Gary and Vivienne Player Invitational and for the over R3 million raised for charity.

The longstanding tournament entered a new era this year under the Gary and Vivienne Player Foundation and its drive to raise funds to ensure the financial sustainability of the Blair Atholl Pre-Primary School that the Players started on their farm over three decades ago.

It is a journey of golf and giving that Player and his wife Vivienne began together many years ago, and one he now continues on his own with a dedicated team following her passing from cancer last year.

At the age of 87, Player remains as committed as ever to ensure that his legacy is more than just his greatness in golf.

“I was blessed to hold my wife in my arms when she passed. Some of her last words to me were, ‘Gary, don’t forget those kids at Blair Atholl’. I had so many wonderful years with Vivienne and I left the table having had a feast. My own life has been an epic journey. All of us will have adversity in our lives, and if you can overcome it with courage, patience and love you will prosper in the end. When people ask me, ‘What is your legacy?’, they all think it’s golf. My legacy is not golf. It’s that through golf and through our foundation, we’ve raised over $100 million for underprivileged people. That is my legacy,” said Player.

The 36-hole tournament came to a close at the Lost City Golf Course on Sunday and was won on a count-out by the team of Sunshine Tour professional Brooklin Bailey, former Bafana Bafana star Mark Fish and businessmen Anthony Phillips and Ashok Pundit on a total of 187 points.

“It’s been a dream of mine to get trophies handed to me from the greats in the game. It’s just so special to be handed a trophy from one of the greats such as Gary Player. He’s an absolute legend and he’s done so much for golf and through his philanthropy. It was a truly special experience,” said Bailey.

Photo (from left to right): Mark Fish, Brooklin Bailey, Gary Player, Anthony Phillips and Ashok Pundit celebrate their victory in the Gary and Vivienne Player Invitational.


19th November 2022

Team Harvey and former Bok Lambie lead Players’ golf and giving drive

SUN CITY, North West – Sunshine Tour professional Jared Harvey said that when he saw the signage for the Gary and Vivienne Player Invitational on the first tee box of the Lost City Golf Course on Saturday, it really hit home that he was playing for something bigger this weekend.

Harvey is one of a number of Sunshine Tour professionals who are competing alongside sports stars and business leaders in this weekend’s tournament in aid of raising funds for the Blair Atholl Pre-Primary School that the Players started on their farm over three decades ago, and which forms a key part of the legacy of the Gary and Vivienne Player Foundation.

And the privilege Harvey says he felt in being a part of this charity drive was enhanced by his fourball team leading the first round of this 36-hole tournament.

Harvey and his team of former Springbok rugby star Patrick Lambie and business leaders Stuart Morris and Elizabeth Horn topped the leaderboard on a total of 25 under par.

“It’s an absolute privilege to be here. I stepped onto the first tee and saw the signage and it sunk in that I’m definitely part of something special. It’s great to be here. Gary Player is a very special man,” said Harvey.

Harvey was also highly impressed with Lambie’s performance.

“Pat is off an 11 handicap and I saw a couple of swings out there today that I would’ve been proud of. I think we had a good blend of handicaps in our team and we dovetailed really well.”

Second place is currently shared by the teams of Sunshine Tour professional Neil Schietekat, former Proteas cricketer Vernon Philander, and business leaders Pamela and Neil Senior; and Sunshine Tour professional Louis Albertse, former Bafana Bafana star Mark Williams, and business leaders Iwan Swiegers and Marius Reitz on 22 under par.


18th November 2022

CIB joins Sunshine Tour as official insurance partner

The Sunshine Tour has announced that CIB (Pty) Ltd (“CIB”), a leader in the provision of specialised insurance solutions in the South African market, is the new official insurance partner for the Tour.

The partnership will see CIB provide specialist commercial insurance for all Sunshine Tour business assets, as well as the TaylorMade golf clubs of the historically disadvantaged professionals who are part of the Papwa Sewgolum Class.

CIB will also cover the hole-in-one insurance on the Sunshine Tour at all DP World Tour co-sanctioned tournaments this season and has further extended its commitment to professional golf as an event sponsor of the Investec South African Open Championship.

“We are delighted to partner with the Sunshine Tour in providing high quality insurance cover for the organisation and giving them the peace of mind that our products offer,” said Jon-Jon Smit, Executive Head of Sales and Marketing.

“Professional sport is an environment reliant upon its competitors being able to perform freely at the highest level and to their fullest potential. As a business we are passionate about creating personalised, bespoke solutions that allow our clients to pursue their passion and realise their goals. We specialise in the commercial/business insurance market and have a wide network of trusted brokers that we know have our clients’ best interests at heart.”

Thomas Abt, Commissioner of the Sunshine Tour, said, “It is a great pleasure to welcome CIB into the Sunshine Tour family. A high-quality insurance partner who understands our business and is well-placed to manage this is vital in terms of allowing us to focus on our golfers and their journey to greatness. I also want to thank CIB for extending their cover to the historically disadvantaged professionals in our Papwa Sewgolum Class, who are often the most vulnerable and at-risk individuals. We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with CIB.”


17th November 2022

Papwa Sewgolum Class pro Bruiners awarded sponsor’s invite to Investec South African Open

In recognition of an “Out of the Ordinary” season so far, Investec awarded Heinrich Bruiners the sponsor’s invitation to compete in this year’s 112th Investec SA Open Championship.

As the highest-placed professional (not otherwise exempt) on the Papwa Sewgolum Class Order of Merit, Bruiners will, courtesy of Investec, join the 156-strong field at the Investec SA Open Championship and compete for an impressive prize fund of $1.5 million. The globally televised championship will take place from Thursday 1 to Sunday 4 December 2022 at the Blair Atholl Golf and Equestrian Estate.

Bruiners has been one of the leading performers in the Papwa Sewgolum Class in a season where he’s worked hard to reclaim the form that saw him win the 2013 Vodacom Origins of Golf at Euphoria Golf Estate. Bruiners has missed only three cuts on the Sunshine Tour this entire season and has had nine top-20 finishes, including a share of 12th place in the prestigious South African PGA Championship.

“Adding to the title sponsorship of the South African Open Championship, Investec is a proud patron of the Papwa Sewgolum Class for the next three years. Awarding the sponsor’s invitation is another way the brand is growing transformation in South African golf and enabling tomorrow’s stars to make the leap onto the professional circuit,” says Peta Dixon, Investec’s head of sponsorships.

“In light of our values of equality, belonging, inclusion and diversity, Investec takes tremendous pride in awarding a well-deserved player this Out of the Ordinary opportunity. We congratulate Heinrich Bruiners – it is an honour to afford him the opportunity to showcase his talent on the world stage come 1 December. May he enjoy his experience and know that the possibilities are endless,” added Dixon.

The 34-year-old Bruiners said: “I’ve reached the age now where I want to perform more than ever. I’m more motivated now than ever in my golf career”.

Thomas Abt, Commissioner of the Sunshine Tour, said: “This is a tremendous opportunity for Heinrich and we’re extremely grateful to Investec for awarding him a place in the Investec South African Open Championship. Investec shares the Sunshine Tour’s vision to transform South African professional golf and is a proud supporter of our Papwa Sewgolum Class. Heinrich’s place in our national Open will no doubt inspire our other Papwa Sewgolum Class professionals to keep working even harder to make their own dreams a reality.”

Caption (from left right): Sunshine Tour professional Heinrich Bruiners; Peta Dixon, Investec head of sponsorships; and Thomas Abt, Commissioner of the Sunshine Tour.

About the Papwa Sewgolum Class:

This initiative provides financial and other support to players who turn professional after graduating from the GolfRSA squad and similar programmes. This ‘bridging support’ plugs a gap that exists when the new professionals are no longer eligible for the assistance they enjoyed as amateurs. The Class is made up of Sunshine Tour professionals who are players of colour (male) who earn their cards on the Sunshine Tour. Approximately 61 professional male golfers of colour participate in the SAT transformation initiatives each year.


15th November 2022

Gary Player wants to leave a legacy of hope

Gary Player, who turned 87 this month, says he hopes his efforts to improve the lives of the underprivileged through his foundation will far outlive any success he achieved as one of golf’s greatest competitors.

The winner of nine Majors on the regular tour, nine Majors on the senior tour and 165 tournaments worldwide will continue his work raising funds for the underprivileged when he hosts The Gary and Vivienne Player Invitational at Sun City this weekend.

“Legacy is an interesting concept for me. I’m often asked about legacy, and it’s always written that I’ve won 18 Majors, 165 tournaments, am the only player to win the Grand Slam on both tours. But that’s not my legacy,” says Player.

“My legacy is that I struggled. I started life with an empty stomach and a pocket full of dreams. The only person behind me was my shadow on the ground. But that means I know what it’s like to struggle. It has given me empathy for people who struggle in life. I’d like to go to my grave knowing that our Gary and Vivienne Player Foundation has raised over $100 million to change the lives of people around the world. That’s my legacy.”

This weekend’s Gary and Vivienne Player Invitational will continue the work Player and his late wife started when they first opened the Blair Atholl Pre-Primary School on their farm over three decades ago. What started as a school for just a handful of the local farmworkers’ children has now grown to educating 125 children between the ages of three and six.

The 36-hole tournament at the Lost City Golf Course from 19-20 November will bring together a selection of sporting greats and business leaders to help raise funds for the foundation and specifically to secure a sustainable future for the school.

Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish, boxing great Brian Mitchell, South African rugby stars Victor Matfield, Butch James, Akona and Odwa Ndungane, Patrick Lambie, Stefan Terblanche, Owen Nkumane and Jaco van der Westhuyzen, Proteas cricketers Herschelle Gibbs and Vernon Philander, former Bafana Bafana footballers Mark Fish, Shaun Bartlett, Jimmy Tau, Aaron Mokoena and Mark Williams, and renowned South African women’s golfer Sally Little will join a collection of Sunshine Tour stars in the field, including five professionals from the Tour’s Papwa Sewgolum Class for historically disadvantaged golfers.

“People talk about a legacy to the game of golf. Forget about being a great golfer, I’d like to be remembered as a man who loved people, who loved life and who tried to contribute to society,” says Player.


13th November 2022

Emotional Fleetwood makes it a double at Nedbank Golf Challenge

SUN CITY, North West – In the 40 editions of the Nedbank Golf Challenge, there are a select few golfers who have crept into the hearts of Sun City golf fans. Similarly, this tournament has found a special place in their hearts as well. Tommy Fleetwood is one of those.

The Englishman grew up watching “Africa’s Major” on TV with his dad. In 2019 he realised a dream when he won it. On Sunday, he joined a rare club of the world’s greatest golfers to have successfully defended his title.

In a tense final round played against the backdrop of a gathering storm and a weather-delay, and with the leaderboard packed tighter than a waterhole at dusk in the neighbouring Pilanesberg National Park, Fleetwood’s chip-in for eagle on the par-five 14th proved decisive as he went on to win by a single shot on 11 under par with a final round of 67.

What it meant was written all over Fleetwood’s face as he burst into tears on the 18th. What it means in the history of this tournament is a place alongside Seve Ballesteros, Ernie Els, Nick Price, David Frost, Jim Furyk and Lee Westwood as the players to have defended their title at the Gary Player Country Club.

“I already have so many amazing memories from this place and feel like I have a great connection so this has just added to that,” said Fleetwood, who on Wednesday battled through the pro-am because he was so ill and almost didn’t tee it up on Thursday.

“It was touch-and-go Thursday morning, and then again on Saturday where we woke up early to finish the second round. I didn’t sleep well and felt like I had nothing in me at all. The doctor at Sun City was amazing. I gave his son my winning golf ball because without him there was not a chance for me. I was just thinking if I can keep going one hole at a time, you never know what the weather is going to do and if we’ll get four rounds in. And I’m glad I made that decision.”

New Zealander Ryan Fox was tied for the lead with Fleetwood playing the 18th but bogeyed the last to finish second on 10 under with a closing 68. Christiaan Bezuidenhout finished as the leading South African on seven under par with a final round of 72.

But this week was all about the 40th celebration of a very special golf tournament, and it delivered a winner with a very special connection to it.

“You know, it meant so much to have my name on the ninth walkway where they put down the bronze plaques with all the previous winners and some of the greatest players of all time. This week I sent a video of that walkway to my dad who is back home because we had always said how great would it be to put my name down there. I showed him it, and he immediately texted back saying, ‘Let’s put down a second one’,” said Fleetwood.


12th November 2022

Grace and Lawrence lead SA charge in “Africa’s Major”

SUN CITY, North West – Branden Grace and Thriston Lawrence are at the forefront of the South African charge in the Nedbank Golf Challenge as they both head into Sunday’s final round only one stroke off the lead and looking to ensure a local champion in this milestone 40th edition of “Africa’s Major”.

A long day of golf at the Gary Player Country Club where the players had to complete the weather-interrupted second round and then head straight into the third round finished with Grace and Lawrence on eight under par, just one shot off the joint lead held by Belgium’s Thomas Detry and Denmark’s Rasmus Højgaard.

By the time the second round was completed on Saturday morning, Luke Donald and Richard Bland shared the lead on eight under par, with Grace one shot back, Højgaard two off the lead, Detry four shots back and Lawrence seven behind.

But the afternoon’s third round proved a different story.

Detry was first into the clubhouse with a 67 to set the target at nine under par. “I managed to find some confidence on the greens. My game has been in great form and I feel like everything is clicking again,” he said.

Højgaard joined him in the lead with a third round of 69. “I’ve been driving the ball pretty well. You need to drive it well on this course. In the final round I’ll try and stay as calm as possible and not try and force anything. I’ve got a good feeling about it,” he said.

And the South Africans as a group made a strong push up the leaderboard.

Lawrence teed off the 10th, birdied four of his six holes to the turn and added a further three birdies on his second nine for a 65 and a tournament total of eight under par. “I’ve been hitting it unbelievably well from tee to green. This is probably my best round ever on this golf course, and it was a good day to do it,” said Lawrence, who is having a dream debut in the Nedbank Golf Challenge.

Grace had a more patient 71 to join him on eight under par.

“It’s put me back where I needed to be. From tee to green I hit it as well as I’ve ever done on this golf course. I struggled to find the speed of the greens, though. But I’m one behind going into the final round. I’m enjoying my golf and if I can shoot five or six under in the final round, I’ll be in with a shout,” said Grace, who is the last South African winner of this tournament in 2017.

Behind them, Christiaan Bezuidenhout will start the final round just two shots off the lead, and Richard Sterne is four shots back.