NO AFRICA OPEN THIS SUM­MER

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Inside The Ropes -

The Africa Open, played at East Lon­don Golf Club, will sadly not be part of the Sun­shine Tour sched­ule this sum­mer. One of the co-sanc­tioned events with the Euro­pean Tour, it has been a happy hunt­ing ground for the top South African play­ers. The six past win­ners have been Trevor Fisher (above), Thomas Aiken, Dar­ren Fichardt, Louis Oosthuizen (twice) and Charl Schwartzel. Buf­falo City, the main spon­sors, are no longer able to fi­nance the tour­na­ment, de­spite hav­ing agreed a year ago to con­tinue host­ing it.

The fluc­tu­at­ing weak­ness of the rand against the dol­lar and euro this year has also forced the Sun­shine Tour to re­con­sider the prize­money po­si­tion for the co­sanc­tioned events. The prize­money was al­ways in euro, which meant that the rand value fluc­tu­ated from year to year. Fichardt, for in­stance, earned R1.89 mil­lion for win­ning the 2013 Africa Open, Aiken R2.37 mil­lion in 2014, and Fisher took home R2.19 mil­lion this year. With the rand eas­ing against the euro, to­tal prize­money at the co-sanc­tioned events this sum­mer, other than the Ned­bank Chal­lenge, will be fixed in rands.

There will still be five Euro­pean Tour events here this sum­mer, all part of the 2016 Euro­pean Tour sea­son. And the SA Open and Joburg will be played in con­sec­u­tive weeks in Jan­uary.

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