The City of Johannesburg has come on board as the new host of the South African Open which sees a new date and venue for the 2019 European Tour calendar.
The SA Open will now be played at Randpark Golf Club from 6-9 December 2018, the time and date the Joburg Open previously held.
Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace, Charl Schwartzel and former champion Brandon Stone will join the 240-strong field competing for a minimum of R17.5-million in prize money on Randpark’s two championship golf courses, Firethorn and Bushwillow.
The championship will, for the first time in its history, be a tri-sanctioned championship between the Sunshine Tour, European Tour and Asian Tour, and it will retain the international qualifying opportunities of the Joburg Open.
‘The new South African Open brings together the invaluable passion and support of the City of Johannesburg for professional golf with the second oldest national Open in the game, and the result is now one truly world-class golf tournament,’ said Selwyn Nathan, commissioner of the Sunshine Tour.
The Mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, said he was delighted that the city will continue to position itself as the forefront of world golf through its hosting of a major championship such as the South African Open.
‘We are extremely proud to be the new host city of the South African Open and to be able to translate the excellence of the Joburg Open into a new future for this historic championship. We look forward to continuing to showcase what Johannesburg has to offer, and to taking this message to Europe as well as Asia as we seek to use the global footprint of this tournament to benefit the residents of our city.’
This will mark the third time in its history that the South African Open will be played at Randpark.
It was played here in 1995 when Retief Goosen beat Ernie Els by five strokes, and then again in 2000 when Swede Mathias Gronberg took the title.
‘The South African Open has experienced phenomenal growth over the past few years and as the custodians of this great championship we look forward to this new partnership with the City of Johannesburg,’ said Grant Hepburn, chief executive officer of GolfRSA.
As the official player-host of the South African Open, Els said he is looking forward to this next step in the continued growth of the championship.
‘It’s been an exciting last few years for the South African Open in which we’ve made this tournament one of the great championships of world golf again. This is another important step in this process, with a major internationally recognised city such as Johannesburg aligning itself so strongly with our national Open.’
Els is also an international ambassador of the Asian Tour, and Asian Tour chief operating officer Cho Minn Thant said they are delighted to add the South African Open hosted by the City of Johannesburg to their schedule.
The South African Open hosted by the City of Johannesburg will occupy a premier place as one of the first tournaments on the European Tour’s new season.