SA Open no longer has status
The golfing media have been talking up the “importance and history” of the South African Open. However, the reality is that despite this tournament holding European Tour status, only five of the 156 players who competed at Glendower, all South African, were in the top 100 of the World Ranking. Charl Schwartzel was the highest at No 31. Apart from him, the other players finishing in the top 10 held rankings of 149, 417, 1548, 486, 154, 439, 810, 435 and 411 respectively.
Far from being of any importance, the Open has unfortunately become in- consequential despite its status. In order to give it any credibility as a national open, the European and Sunshine Tour need to reach agreement as regards the Nedbank Challenge, Alfred Dunhill Champs and SA Open being run back-to-back in November and December. It is clear that European tour professionals of any consequence who participate in either or both the former tournaments are quite reasonably not prepared to commute back to South Africa for another tournament at the start of January. If this cannot be achieved, the SA Open should be dropped from the European Tour schedule. It simply does not merit the €158 500 (R2.38-million) first prize, or the associated world ranking points.