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Professional golfers will team up with amateurs for the Joburg Open Pro-Am, taking place a day before the main event, South Africa’s richest tournament.
THE manicured fairways and lush greens of the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club are ready for the fifth annual Joburg Open, in which 240 golfers will vie for the first prize of R1 854 450.


Executive mayor Amos Masondo tees off in a previous Joburg Open Pro-Am tournamentExecutive mayor Amos Masondo tees off in a previous Joburg Open Pro-Am tournamentThe tournament has a total prize purse of €1,3-million (about R11,7-million) to be split between the first 70 winners. It tees off on Thursday, 13 January and ends four days later, on Sunday, 16 January.

The Joburg Open is a 72-hole stroke play championship, with 18 holes played on each of the four days. Two top-quality courses are used; both are par 72. If a play-off is needed, it will be a sudden death over the 18th hole. Play is in accordance with the Rules of the PGA European Tour and the Sunshine Tour Tournament Rules.

It sets the pace for the 2011 golfing calendar, as it is a co-sanctioned Order of Merit event on the PGA European Tour and Sunshine Tour. It is the first tournament of the year on the European circuit to stake a claim towards the Race to Dubai event.

South Africans have featured prominently in previous tournaments, with Charl Schwartzel picking up the trophy in 2010 and Richard Sterne winning in 2008.

“This being the fifth anniversary of South Africa’s richest tournament, a win by another South Africa would be an excellent way to crown the tournament’s fifth year celebrations, but that outcome would be 100 percent up to the golfing gods,” says Johannesburg City manager Mavela Dlamini, himself an ardent amateur golfer.

Argentina’s Ariel Canete won the inaugural event in 2007 and Denmark’s Anders Hansen took the honours in 2009.

“Our belief from the onset that the Joburg Open is a tournament to open doors for all golfers from development to the professionals was well and truly vindicated by Charl’s triumph. Bathathe, Charl,” Dlamini adds.

As usual, the Joburg Open will begin with a Pro-Am as a build up to the main event. It will take place on Wednesday, 12 January. By invitation only, in all, 60 professional players will participate alongside Executive Mayor Amos Masondo, Dlamini, some of Joburg’s top businesspeople and a host of other prominent personalities, including Roland Schoeman, Marc Batchelor and Mark Fish.


The Joburg Open Golf Development The Joburg Open Golf Development Clinic takes place at the Alex Driving RangeThe Pro-Am is a four-ball, with teams made up of one professional golfer and three amateurs. The professionals tee off the championship markers and the amateurs from the club markers.

Resources for the development of golf are provided by the City across Johannesburg, particularly in previously disadvantaged neighbourhoods. As part of its commitment, a golf development clinic will be hosted at the Alexandra Driving Range a day before the Pro-Am. Aspirant and amateur golfers will be taught the intricacies of the sport, the ultimate aim being to expand its accessibility and debunk stereotypes that golf is elitist.

The coaching clinic will be conducted by some of the world’s best golfers.

“The Joburg Open Golf Development Clinic is a tangible result of the City’s efforts to take the game of golf to the people, affording the youngsters an opportunity to not only meet with the celebrated stars of the game but also to learn a thing or two from some of the world’s best,” notes Yolanda Arendse, the event’s publicist.

“Through such interventions, the City aims is to inspire youngsters from Alexandra to aspire to follow in the footsteps of these and other talented young golfers, to become some of South Africa’s household names.”

The Joburg Open is the third European Tour Order of Merit tournament in South Africa; the others are the Dunhill Championship and the South African Airways Open. It is sponsored by the City of Johannesburg, Sunshine Tour, European Tour, B-wired, Volvo, ProShop and Legacy Hotels and Resorts.

Entry is R30 a day or R80 for the entire tournament. Tickets are available at the gate from 3 to 16 January. Those wanting to enjoy the golf from the cool of a hospitality marquee while watching the action on plasma screen, can book tickets online for the hospitality village.

The 2011 Joburg Open will be broadcast live on SuperSport on all four days. Tournament news, scores, photos and videos will also be available online on the Joburg Open website.

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