Sunshine Tour

Jake Roos on Sunshine Tour's resumption: Everyone is ready to rumble again

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Jake Roos
Jake Roos
Shaun Roy/Sunshine Tour/Gallo Images
  • South African golfer Jake Roos believes players will be "ready to rumble" as the Sunshine Tour returns next week.
  • The Sunshine Tour confirmed a five-tournament Rise-Up Series, which will take place in Gauteng.
  • All golfers, caddies and staff will play according to GolfRSA's Covid-19 Risk Mitigation Strategy, which was approved by government. 

South African golfer Jake Roos admitted he is not concerned with playing in the Sunshine Tour's Rise-Up Series, which is scheduled to get underway on 19 August.

Professional golf in South Africa will return for the first time since the Tour Championship in February.

The coronavirus pandemic delayed the Sunshine Tour's 2020/21 season as the Tour had to abandon its 'African Swing' schedule.

The Sunshine Tour then revealed a five-tournament Rise-Up Series, which starts next week at Killarney Country Club.

Roos, who has won six Sunshine Tour titles, told media on Tuesday that he was excited to return to action.

"The pros are super excited, it's been a long time coming," said Roos.

"The last tournament we played in was the Tour Championship in February, so everyone is really grateful. 

"I think it's uncharted waters for many of us. Some of the guys have hardly ever taken a week off and suddenly they had to take months off. But the positive is that everyone is well rested and ready to rumble again," he said.

"Luckily the golf courses have opened and we have had the opportunity to start practising again in the last couple of months."

The Rise-Up Series will feature five 54-hole tournaments each with a purse of R600 000.

The Sunshine Tour has also introduced a nice incentive for players in the form of a Betway Birdie Challenge. In this new innovation, the top three golfers who make the most birdies throughout the Rise-Up Series will win their share of R50 000, with the winner allocated R25 000, R15 000 for second place and R10 000 for third place.

Roos admitted that although it's not the amount of money they will usually compete for, he felt it was important for players to stay in a competitive mindset.

"You lose a bit of edge when you haven't played in a tournament for a while and although we've practised a lot at home, you need to test yourself in an competitive environment," said Roos, who is ranked 534th in the world golf rankings.

"Although we're not playing for the biggest prize money, it's of the utmost importance that we play in this tournament and get going."

READ | No Covid-19 bio-bubble for returning Sunshine Tour, players to be screened daily

The Rise-Up Series will take place in Gauteng, which has become the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic in South Africa.

But the Sunshine Tour will implement GolfRSA's Covid-19 Risk Mitigation Strategy, which was approved by the Department of Sport and Recreation.

Sunshine Tour deputy commissioner Thomas Abt revealed that, while there were players who raised concerns, the response was largely positive.

"There have been a few players who have questioned and raised their concern about returning to golf because they've got young kids or any health element," said Abt.

"Overall, if I can say, 92 percent eager and positive... 'let's go out and play'... eight percent aren't negative about playing, it's more of a question mark on what are our policies and what are we doing to ensure the safety of our players."

Rise-Up Series tournament schedule:

19-21 August: Rise-Up Series Event 1 Betway Championship at Killarney Country Club

26-28 August: Rise-Up Series Event 2 sponsored by African Bank at Glendower Golf Club

2-4 September: Rise-Up Series Event 3 at Pretoria Country Club

23-25 September: Rise-Up Series Event 4 at ERPM Golf Club

30 September - 2 October: Rise-Up Series Event 5 at Huddle Park Golf Club

- Compiled by Lynn Butler

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