The Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour today announced changes to the current Summer Swing of co-sanctioned tournaments in South Africa as a result of the country being placed on the travel red list of several countries following concerns around a new COVID-19 variant, and the effect this will have on the participation of professional golfers.
The Sunshine Tour, DP World Tour and City of Johannesburg have decided to reduce the Joburg Open to 54 holes to help non-South African resident players, caddies and tournament support staff return to their home countries. The decision was taken to help facilitate their safe return and give them an extra day to make travel arrangements.
The move follows international travel restrictions imposed on South Africa on Friday due to the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant in the country.
Round two of the Joburg Open will resume at 06:30 (local time) on Saturday morning, with the third and final round then due to start at 09.30 on Saturday at the earliest. The third round will be a two-tee start with players grouped in three-balls.
will go ahead as planned and will finish on Sunday as scheduled as a full co-sanctioned tournament between the two tours. THIS IS DESPITE SOME 15 WITHDRAWALS FROM BRITISH AND IRISH GOLFERS INCLUDING DAVID HOWELL, LIAM JOHNSTONE AND PAUL DUNNE, ALONG WITH SEVERAL OF THE BROADCAST CREW ON SITE IN SOUTH AFRICA.
The South African Open Championship, set to be played at the Gary Player Country Club at Sun City from 2-5 December, will also still be played as scheduled. However, it will go ahead as a solely Sunshine Tour event with a prize fund of US$500 000.
The Alfred Dunhill Championship, which was scheduled to be played at Leopard Creek Country Club from 9-12 December, has after lengthy consultations with Alfred Dunhill, unfortunately been cancelled due to the adverse effect the travel restrictions will have on the field.
IT REMAINS TO BE SEEN HOW THIS NEW VARIANT COULD IMPACT UPON FUTURE EVENTS THIS SEASON SCHEDULED FOR SOUTH AFRICA, WITH THE DP WORLD TOUR SCHEDULED TO BE RETURNING TO THE COUNTRY IN MARCH FOR TWO CO-SANCTIONED TOURNAMENTS.
THE REMOVAL OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN OPEN AND ALFRED DUNHILL CHAMPIONSHIP FROM THE SCHEDULE MEANS THE NEXT DP WORLD TOUR EVENT AFTER THE COMPLETION OF THIS WEEK'S JOBURG OPEN WILL BE THE ABU DHABI HSBC CHAMPIONSHIP 20-23 JANUARY, GIVING THE TOUR A 52-DAY OFF-SEASON.