- Sunshine Tour commissioner Selwyn Nathan is concerned that major sponsors will pull out as the world struggles to deal with Covid-19's financial implications
- The Sunshine Tour season is currently suspended with no announcement yet on a revised schedule
- The Tour has already lost several tournaments in the past as they struggle to attract sponsorships
Sunshine Tour commissioner Selwyn Nathan admits that the organisation is concerned about how the coronavirus will impact on existing and potential sponsorship deals.
Businesses in South Africa have been forced to adapt as the government continues to ease restrictions during the nationwide lockdown.
Recreational and social golf in South Africa resumed on 13 June but the government has yet to give the Sunshine Tour the go-ahead to host golf tournaments.
"The important thing for us is the retention (of sponsors) from the past," Nathan told Sport24 in a telephonic interview.
"When we get the go-ahead, we want to say to our sponsors: 'we are ready when you are'."
Although golf clubs have opened all around the country, certain aspects are not permitted, like hosting corporate events.
"A lot of our events have a Pro-Am element. The sponsor has the opportunity to allow these guests and clients to play with the pros for two of the days," said Nathan.
"So it's a bit difficult now if we can't have a lot of people around coming in from province to province and you can't have a function or do hospitality. It's a very difficult time for companies. "
In the past, there have been several prestigious South African golf tournaments that have struggled to survive and have ultimately fallen off the European Tour and Sunshine Tour schedules.
The most notable tournaments recently lost to the SA golf calendar were the Tshwane Open and Joburg Open. In 2018, the Joburg Open merged with the South African Open after the world's second-oldest golf tournament lost its main title sponsor BMW.
Nathan confirmed that if the Sunshine Tour cannot secure the bulk of their sponsorships, they would only be able to fund themselves for a few weeks.
"If we have to run some events that are funded by the tour itself in a bubble for a couple of weeks, I'm sure we'll be able to do that, but I'm not sure what (lockdown) level that would be," he said.
GolfRSA, who looks after the interests of more than 460 golf clubs around the country, has a Covid-19 Relief Fund, which has already helped thousands of caddies and casual workers.
The Sunshine Tour announced that they will pay a monthly stipend to its member professionals for the months of April to July.
On Tuesday, the GolfRSA Help Fund will have a Live Auction hosted by TV personality Dan Nicholl at 18:00.
Some of the lots to bid on include a round of golf with Proteas legends Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher and a golfing experience with World Cup-winning Springbok Schalk Brits.
To view the items amazing item on offer and sign up for the auction, click HERE.