The adminstrators of South Africa’s major sports (i.e. rugby, cricket and soccer) should be taking notes from the administrators of one of the country’s smaller codes (golf). The reason? South Africa has become a giant killer in the game with the little white ball. From Augusta to Zeerust, everyone acknowledges that South Africa punches well above its weight.
After all, outside the US and UK, no country has won more majors than South Africa (take a bow Bobby Locke, Gary Player, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Trevor Immelman, Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen). And there are many more coming through the ranks thanks to the magnificent development programmes around the country which are identifying and nurturing the champions of tomorrow.
The Sunshine Tour has recognised this and this week announced the launch of the Nelson Mandela Championship, a new professional golf tournament co-sanctioned by the European Tour. Funds from the tournament will benefit the Nelson Mandela’s Children’s Fund. The field of 156 professionals will be made up of equal numbers from both the Sunshine and European Tours and will feature some of the world’s leading professional golfers.
‘This will give us a worldwide platform through live television coverage to highlight our vitally important work in support of the neediest children throughout South Africa,’ said Moipone Buda-Ramatlo, the acting CEO of the fund. The first Nelson Mandela Championship will take place from 6 to 9 December at a venue still to be confirmed. This is another major feather in the cap for our sport-mad nation and demonstrates just how far we have come since those years of isolation.
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