Bell's step in to save
South African Open
The world's second oldest golf Open Championship has been saved in an 11th
hour rescue, with Bell's Whisky acting as a 'white knight' to save the distressed
2002 South African Open Golf Championship.
The SA Open - second only to the British Open - will resume its crown position
as the top event in professional golf on the Sunshine Tour and is
scheduled to be played in Durban from 10 to 13 January 2002.
Announcing the event-saving sponsorship on behalf of SA's top selling Scotch
whisky in Cape Town today, Dries van der Sandt, Marketing Manager of
Bell's Extra Special Old Scotch Whisky said: "We are still awaiting confirmation
of some of the players, but believe the sponsorship boost for the prestigious
event will assist in drawing all the big names and making it one of the most exciting
events on the tour.
"Bell's is totally committed to golf in South Africa and for many years
has supported it on both professional and amateur levels, through the Bell's
Cup of old and all the current day amateur events' sponsorships. Like golf, Scotch
whisky is one of Scotland's finest exports and we're proud to
be able to save the day."
The Bell's SA Open is the first event on the Sunshine Tour to qualify for flagship
recognition from the Official World Golf Ranking body and ranks on par with Europe's
PGA Championship as well as the Australia and Japanese Open.
Chief Executive of the Sunshine Tour, Louis Martin said: "It is wonderful
news for the South African Open that a sponsor of Bells prominence has chosen
to back our flagship event. We are especially pleased to announce that reigning
US Open Champion and Europe's number one, Retief Goosen has confirmed that he
will support this event and is looking forward to playing at the magnificent Durban
Country Club in January."
Selwyn Nathan, from Open Golf Management, says this event always attracts
the best field to its fairways and, in addition to Goosen, discussions are
underway with several of South Africa's top players.
"The decision was taken some years ago that the event should be played
various provinces to give both players and spectators a chance to experience a
Championship of this size and caliber and to be exposed to the world class players
that the event attracts each year."
In preparation for the event, Durban Country Club, which ranks among the top 10
courses in SA and last hosted the event in 1999, is readying its fairways.
President of the South African Golf Association, Peter Morris, said: "Our
thanks go to Bell's for underwriting the title sponsorship, and who, with the
other co-sponsors, are enabling us to continue the tradition of the South African
Open Championship. Historically, we have enjoyed tremendous support from the Kwazulu
Natal supporters and we look forward to welcoming them back to the fairways of
Durban Country Club next year in support of local golf."
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