Sunshine Tour

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Sunshine Tour
Current season, competition or edition:
2014 Sunshine Tour
Formerly Sunshine Circuit,
South African Tour,
Southern Africa Tour
Sport Golf
Founded Late 1960s / early 1970s (rebranded as the Sunshine Tour in 2000)
Countries  Namibia
 South Africa
 Swaziland
 Zambia
 Zimbabwe
Most titles South Africa Gary Player (73)
TV partner(s) SuperSport
Official website SunshineTour.com

The Sunshine Tour is a men's professional golf tour based in Southern Africa. For much of its history it was known either as the South African Tour or the FNB Tour, but it rebranded itself in an attempt to broaden its appeal. A large majority of the tour events are still staged in South Africa.

The tour is one of the six leading men's tours which before 2009 made up the membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, but it offers much less prize money than some of the leading tours, and leading Southern African golfers always prefer to play on the PGA Tour or the European Tour if they can qualify to do so, typically returning to play in Sunshine Tour events a couple of times a year.

The tour's three leading official money events, the South African Open, the Alfred Dunhill Championship, and the Joburg Open are co-sanctioned with the European Tour to attract stronger fields. Each season is scheduled across two calendar years and concludes with a tour championship in late February. The 2005/06 season included 21 official money events. The South African Open and the Dunhill Championship had purses of €1 million each and the other 19 had purses designated in South African Rand and ranging from 250,000 rand to 2 million rand. The tour also co-sanctions the US$5 million HSBC Champions in China, but it is not an official money event.

There was at least one tournament every month of the year except July, but the main events took place in the South African summer from November to February. There are separate qualifying schools in March and in late October/early November, effectively dividing the tour into two series of events. The March to October series is a developmental program for emerging, mainly local, players, held when all the leading Southern African players are plying their trade in other parts of the world. The November to February series attracts almost all the top South Africans, even if only for one or two events, and also some good quality international players.

The tour has been open to non-White players since 1991. The first three Black winners were John Mashego at the 1991 Bushveld Classic, Lindani Ndwandwe at the 2001 Western Cape Classic and Tongoona Charamba at the 2006 SAA Pro-Am Invitational.[1]

The current richest golf tournament in South Africa is the Nedbank Golf Challenge, an unofficial money but Sunshine Tour-recognized tournament. Starting in 2012, the Sunshine Tour will host a new World Golf Championships event to be known as the Tournament of Hope, which is planned to have a purse of US$10 million, the richest in the sport.[2]

Schedule[edit]

Main article: 2014 Sunshine Tour

The Sunshine Tour consists of two distinct parts, commonly referred to as the "Summer Swing" and "Winter Swing". Tournaments held during the Summer Swing generally have much higher prize funds and attract stronger fields. The Winter Swing runs from March to November, dividing the Summer Swing in two.

Tournament prize funds do not count directly towards the Order of Merit. The richest events on the tour are those that are co-sanctioned with the European Tour.

Order of Merit winners[edit]

The winner of the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit is awarded the Sid Brews Trophy. The Order of Merit winners are shown below. Players are required to play in a minimum number of tournaments (eight in 2013) to qualify for the Order of Merit. As the richest events on the tour (those co-sanctioned by the European Tour) tend to be won by players who don't play enough events to qualify, in recent years the Order of Merit winner has often not actually been the player who won most money in Sunshine Tour sanctioned events. The winner of the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit also earns entry into The Open Championship.

This list is incomplete.
Season Player Country Earnings (R)
2013 Dawie van der Walt  South Africa 5,094,333.00
2012 Branden Grace  South Africa 2,760,319.00
2011 Garth Mulroy  South Africa 3,464,463.00
2010 Charl Schwartzel  South Africa 5,097,913.58
2009 Anders Hansen  Denmark 4,286,038.20
2008 Richard Sterne  South Africa 5,599,264.60
2007 James Kingston  South Africa 1,980,688.65
2006/07 Charl Schwartzel  South Africa 1,585,117.41
2005/06 Charl Schwartzel  South Africa 1,207,459.70
2004/05 Charl Schwartzel  South Africa 1,635,850.44
2003/04 Darren Fichardt  South Africa 726,544.74
2002/03 Trevor Immelman  South Africa 2,044,279.45
2001/02 Tim Clark  South Africa 1,669,900.71
2000/01 Mark McNulty  Zimbabwe 1,603,481.36
1999/00 Darren Fichardt  South Africa 558,735.17
1998/99 David Frost  South Africa 1,189,761.60
1997/98 Mark McNulty  Zimbabwe 589,052.50
1996/97 Mark McNulty  Zimbabwe 556,226.57
1995/96 Wayne Westner  South Africa 709,388.66
1994/95 Ernie Els  South Africa 460,488.35
1993/94 Tony Johnstone  Zimbabwe 297,358.75
1992/93 Mark McNulty  Zimbabwe 250,079.16
1991/92 Ernie Els  South Africa
1990/91 John Bland  South Africa
1989/90 John Bland  South Africa
1988/89 Tony Johnstone  Zimbabwe
1987/88 John Bland  South Africa
1986/87 Mark McNulty  Zimbabwe
1985/86 Mark McNulty  Zimbabwe
1984/85 Mark McNulty  Zimbabwe
1983/84 Gavan Levenson  South Africa
1982/83 Nick Price  Zimbabwe
1981/82 Mark McNulty  Zimbabwe
1980/81 Mark McNulty  Zimbabwe
1979/80 Gary Player  South Africa
1978/79 Hugh Baiocchi  South Africa
1977/78 John Bland  South Africa
1976/77 Gary Player  South Africa
1975/76 Allan Henning  South Africa
1974/75 Allan Henning  South Africa
1973/74 Hugh Baiocchi  South Africa
1972/73 Bobby Cole  South Africa

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Charamba rewrites history at SAA Pro-Am Invitational". Sunshine Tour. 22 May 2006. Retrieved 1 December 2009. 
  2. ^ "Sunshine Tour announces major coup for SA golf" (Press release). Sunshine Tour. 12 April 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]