South Africa is to host one of the world's richest gold events, The Tournament of Hope, every year for a full decade starting from November 2013. With a prize purse of .5-million (almost R72-million), it will attract the cream of the world's golfers to the country.
The contract for the event was confirmed after it was officially finalised between the International Federation of PGA Tours, the Sunshine Tour, and event promoter SAIL, with the tournament secured in South Africa for a whopping 10 years.
It will also make for a thrilling close to the 2013 season in South Africa, with the South African Open, the Nelson Mandela Championship and the Alfred Dunhill Championship - all co-sanctioned by the European Tour and Sunshine Tour - following immediately after the Tournament of Hope.
The host course will be announced at a later date.
"The Tournament of Hope had long been agreed to in principal, but now that we have a signed contract with the International Federation of PGA Tours, confirming our 10-year hosting of the event, we can begin our preparations in earnest," said Michelle van Eyden of SAIL in a statement.
The Tournament of Hope ranks above each of the four Majors in terms of total prize money and is equal to the total prize money on offer at each of the World Golf Championship tournaments. Only The Players Championship, with a total prize purse of .5-million offers more money.
Selwyn Nathan, the executive director of the Sunshine Tour, explained: "The Tournament of Hope field will comprise a maximum of 72 of the world's top players, who will be drawn from the top 50 players on the Official World Golf Ranking, the top eight available players from the European Tour Race to Dubai, the top eight available players from the previous season's final PGA Tour FedExCup points list, as well as those with eligibility similar to that of the Majors and four existing World Golf Championship events, and supplemented by the individual money lists and Orders of Merit of the various Tours that make up the International Federation of PGA Tours.
"So we are confident that the world's leading players will be in South Africa," he added.
The Tournament of Hope provides the opportunity for the International Federation of PGA Tours (PGA Tour, European Tour, PGA Tour of Australasia, Japan Golf Tour, Asian Tour and Sunshine Tour) to unite in the global battle against the socio-economic issues related to HIV/AIDS, with the tournament contributing financially to the cause.
According to an independent economic impact study conducted by Grant Thornton, R700-million in PR and media value is expected to be generated for the country, province, host city and tournament sponsors by the global television broadcast.
In addition to this, the province that hosts the 2013 Tournament of Hope is expected to benefit from an economic injection of between R530 and R903-million, depending on the geographical location of the host province. This will be generated from local and international spectators, operational spend in the province, as well as job creation around a major international event.
"Our vision is to ensure that this tournament becomes globally recognised as one of the top tournaments in the world and successfully positions South Africa to an international audience," said Brand de Villiers, chairman of SAIL.
SAIL has a long history in the field of sports, sponsorships and entertainment, and is particularly well positioned in golf as the promoter of European Tour events such as the Alfred Dunhill Championship, and the Joburg Open for three years, as well as the Telkom PGA Championship and several other tournaments on the Sunshine Tour.
"South African golf has long been one of the great success stories in the history of the global game. We now have the opportunity to match the success of our players with the staging of a major tournament that will keep this country at the forefront of international golf, and right in the minds of the almost 100-million television viewers worldwide who will be watching it," said De Villiers.
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