Sunshine Tour's WGC event not a sure thing
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
What Sunshine Tour commissioner Gareth Tindall is trumpeting as the beginning of “a world tour” is seen in others quarters as an idea that has been talked about for several years, one that hopefully could become a fifth World Golf Championship.
But Ed Moorhouse, co-chief operating officer of the PGA Tour, said it was still a bit premature to etch into the 2012 calender what would be called the Tournament of Hope in South Africa.
Tindall told Associated Press that this would be a “significant” $10 million World Golf Championship the first week in December and made it sound as if it were signed, sealed, and delivered. If so, then one would think the announcement would have come from the International Golf Federation, which oversees the current four World Golf Championships, and that the PGA Tour – which is a huge part of the IGF - would be confirming it.
That is not the case.
“We think it’s a worthwhile endeavor, we thought so in 2006 when the concept was proposed, but it never materialized,” Moorhouse said.
“But it’s a work in progress and they’re still in the planning stages.”
Moorhouse confirmed that the vision is for a golf tournament to be part of AIDS week, which is an awareness initiative held globally the first week of December. There would be other sporting events througout the world, but the proposed WGC event in South Africa would be the focal point.
First suggested in 2006, the concept was brought forth at the recent “federation meeting” at Augusta National during the Masters, Moorhouse said, adding, “We definitely want to take a hard look at it.”
But it appears as if the onus will be on the Sunshine Tour to come up with a sponsor and square away the date, which Moorhouse suggests will “all take some work.” There are big tournaments in Australia and Japan in November and December, and if you look at the European Tour’s 2010 schedule, they are still going strong that time of year; the UBS Hong Kong Open is Dec. 1-4 and the next week is the Dubai World Championship.
“We’re certainly committed (to the concept),” Moorhouse said, but he would not go so far as to say it was a done deal.
Tindall almost guaranteed that the best players would come, telling AP that the prize money was “too good to turn down.”
Then again, didn’t organizers think the same thing about the 2001 WGC Match Play in Australia? With the tournament held Jan. 2-7 that year, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were among a long list of marquee names who didn’t play and organizers had to dip down to those ranked past 100 to fill the 64-player field.