Monday, August 1, 2011

Tournament of Hope – South Africa


The Tournament of Hope is a golf tournament proposed to take place in South Africa.  It is planned to occur annually starting in 2012.  The Tournament of Hope will be the fifth World Golf Championship event with a planned purse of USD 10 million.  At its announcement in April 2011 it was richer than any other golf event in the world, even beating the Dubai World Championship in terms of prize money.  The initial contract for the tournament is five years.  This would be the second active World Golf Championships event outside the United States, with the only other one being the HSBC Champions is held in China.

The World Golf Championship events are currently I) The Accenture World Matchplay, II) The Cadillac Championship, III) The Bridgestone Invitational and IV) The HSBC Champions (held in China).

As it is currently planned, the Tournament of Hope will conflict with the Chevron World Challenge hosted by Tiger Woods as well as the Nedbank Golf Challenge (previously the Million Dollar Golf Challenge) held at Sun City each year.

Source:  Wikipedia


Do I think the event will be a success?  Certainly the event will be the highlight of the South African golfing calendar.  It will definitely attract a great number of the world’s greatest golfers.  I have never quite figured out why the Nedbank Golf Challenge only has 12 players in the field.  Perhaps having another more prestigious tournament around the same time will encourage more golfers to visit South Africa around early December.

My comments with respect to the timing of the tournament are as follows:

ONE:  It is planned to be held in early December each year.  This is the time of the year when golfers would prefer to take a Christmas vacation with their families, especially since the PGA season will be well over by that time of the year and the FedEx Cup will have long been decided.  I strongly suspect that many golfers, particularly those based in the United States, will be unlikely to want to travel to South Africa for the tournament.  Sure, South Africa has some fantastic weather at that time of the year.  But why would golfers travel all the way from the United States, just for a four-day event, when they could spend time with their families after a long PGA tour season, and when they could be preparing for the season opening events in Hawaii?

TWO:  As of 2011, the Race to Dubai only wraps up on the 11th of December.  This may conflict with the Tournament of Hope from 2012 unless either the Race to Dubai or the Tournament of Hope changes its date.

THREE:  The first events of the European Tour season take place in South Africa, with the Alfred Dunhill Championship, the South African Open Championship, the Africa Open and the Jo’burg Open each taking place between early December and mid-January.  This should encourage more players from Europe to travel to South Africa.  But it seems that one of the tournaments may have to be moved or canceled depending on how the Tournament of Hope can be slotted in.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  I suspect that the Tournament of Hope will mainly attract players from the European Tour.  I expect that players on the PGA Tour will be unwilling to travel to South Africa for the event.  With the amount of prize money of offer, I do, however, expect that the Tournament of Hope will be a success and a GREAT reflection on the ability of South Africa to host yet another world-class event.

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