SA Team announced for ground-breaking Scottish Tour
The South African Golf Association (SAGA) announced a six-man team that will compete in three international events in Scotland between 28 May and 25 June, as well as a test against the Scottish Golf Union’s Mens Squad.
The South African squad will tee it up in the Carrick Neill Scottish Stroke Play Championship at the Kilmarnock Barassie Golf Club on the outskirts of Troon, the St Andrews Links Trophy at the St Andrews Old and New Courses, as well as the British Amateur Championship scheduled for Royal Troon from 18-23 June.
The team consists of the country’s number two ranked player, Haydn Porteous, as well as CJ du Plessis, Shaun Smith, Gert Myburgh and Drikus Bruyns, currently ranked fourth to seventh on the SAGA Rankings, and 10th ranked JP Strydom.
While the SAGA has sponsored individual players to compete in international tournaments in the past few years, President Colin Burger explained that the SAGA felt that a team could benefit more from a long term tour in Europe.
“For the last three years, the SAGA has hosted a visiting team made up of Scottish Golf Union Men’s Squad players during their winter break,” Burger explained.
“Each year they toured our country for approximately eight weeks and competed in our provincial tournaments, as well as the SA Stroke Play and Sanlam SA Amateur. We witnessed how much the team, and the individual players, benefitted from the long term exposure.
“Last year we entered into talks with the Scottish Golf Union and we are delighted that this year, our plans to send a team consisting of our leading players, has come to fruition.
“This is a ground-breaking initiative for us, because the four week tour will allow these six players to gain comprehensive international experience. The three tournaments are high profile events that will draw the best players in Europe and each tournament carries valuable world ranking points.”
While the players will compete at St Andrews and Royal Troon, they will also sample two other Open Championship venues during their four week stay.
“The squad will play a two-day Test against members of the Scottish Golf Union’s Mens Squad at Prestwick, which hosted the first Open Championship in 1860” said Burger.
“They will also have the opportunity to play a round of golf at Muirfield, where South Africa’s Grand Slam champion Gary Player won the first of his three British Open Championship titles and where Ernie Els triumphed in 2003. And we hope to also take them to see the famous course and clubhouse at Carnoustie.”
Burger said that it is easy to become isolated in South Africa and the SAGA believes international competition is paramount to the development of the country’s top amateurs.
“We believe our players can really benefit from international competition and that they will also be better positioned to make a decision about their futures, having measured themselves against the best players in Europe under tournament pressure.”