After supplying two Major champions in Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel in the last two years, the Sunshine Tour’s significance in world golf has been recognised, with the Governing Board of the Official World Golf Ranking deciding to allocate points to the Tour’s 54-hole events.
At its recent meeting at the Open Championship at Royal St George’s in Sandwich, Kent, the recognition given to the Sunshine Tour’s ‘Winter Series’ events was a world first for tournaments shorter than 72 holes.
The events, which give the Southern African Tour professionals opportunities to develop their games in the face of difficulties confronting them in getting into events on other tours, will now be part of a new minimum category with four ranking points for first place (2.40 for second, 1.60 for third and 1.20 for fourth).
In addition, the Board announced that the 72-hole ‘state based and regional tournaments’ on the Australasian Tour would also now be included in the ranking system at the previous minimum category of six ranking points for first place, along with any 72-hole Sunshine Tour ‘Winter Series’ events.
One of the major benefits for South African professionals will be that more players will be able to qualify for world ranking points than has previously been the case, giving those players access to the International Final Qualifying tournament for the Open Championship.
That event is open only to players with ranking points, and it meant that the chances of some young player being able to get into the world’s most important tournament were severely hampered.