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South African Open in doubt

The future of the South African Open will be decided next week as officials make a final "begging'' attempt to save it from being scrapped.

South Africa's flagship golf event - and the second oldest Open in the game after the British Open - is scheduled to tee off at the Durban Country Club in five weeks but remains without a title sponsor.

Louis Martin, chief executive of the Sunshine Tour, said: "Without a sponsor it won't go ahead. I don't know what else to do. I'm begging. I've got to do everything in my power to save this tournament."

The falling value of the rand led to previous sponsors Mercedes Benz not renewing their five-year deal for an event which offers prize money in dollars. The tournament is co-sanctioned by the European Tour and the Sunshine Tour.

US Open champion Retief Goosen has questioned the ability of the South African Open to retain its international status on the European Tour.

"It's becoming impossible to sponsor co-sanctioned events with the rand to dollar exchange rate being what it is," Goosen, who won the 1995 South African Open, said at the Players' Championship.

"It's a pity, but there are very few big companies in South Africa at the moment that can afford to sponsor a co-sanctioned event."

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