Sunshine Tour

Aiken concerned over SA Open sponsor struggles

Thomas Aiken (Getty Images)
Thomas Aiken (Getty Images)

Anahita - Thomas Aiken revealed his deep concern for the South African Open ahead of this week's prestigious tournament at Randpark Golf Club in Johannesburg.

The Sunshine Tour announced in October that the South African Open will merge with the Joburg Open this year.

This comes after BMW pulled out as the main title sponsor of the SA Open, which saw the Joburg Open stepping in to restore the national Open for another year.

READ: Coetzee hints at Tshwane Open revival

Aiken, who finished T23 at this past weekend's AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open, admitted that it is upsetting to see the second oldest golf tournament in the world struggle to find a sponsor.

"The South African Open has got a lot of history to it, it's the second oldest golf tournament in the world. It's unfortunate that we had problems finding sponsors for it," Aiken told Sport24 at the Mauritius Open, sponsored by Mauritius Tourism.

"Thankfully Joburg Open took the title over (and) hopefully we can find some stability going forward because as a South African, it's quite upsetting to see not only your national Open but a tournament that has so much prestige to it - with all the names it has on the trophy.  

"I think it's a very valid event that deserves a good title sponsor. Hopefully we can get some solidarity and solidity with it going forward in the future." 

The SA Open will, for the first time in its history be a tri-sanctioned between the Sunshine Tour, European Tour and Asian Tour, and will retain the three qualifying spots for next year's Open Championship.

The South African Open will be played on Randpark's two golf courses, Firethorn and Bushwillow, and will feature a field of 240 golfers - competing for a minimum of R17.5 million in prize money.

England's Chris Paisley is the defending champion, winning the last SA Open at Glendower GC in January this year.

The SA Open, which dates back to 1903, is scheduled to get under way at Randpark Golf Club from Thursday.

Sport24 is at the AfrAsia Mauritius Open sponsored by the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority and SUN Resorts.

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