The Joburg Open and South African Open are merging. The unique move comes as the two events blend aspects of both events to come together.
The South African Open name will survive, with the event moving to Randpark Golf Club in Johannesburg, which had hosted the Joburg Open, for the first time since 2000. Randpark's golf courses, Firethorn and Bushwillow, will host the Joburg Open monster-sized 240-player field, which is the largest in professional golf's major tours. For the first time, the tournament will be co-sanctioned by the European Tour, Sunshine Tour and Asian Tour.
The tournament will be played Dec. 6-9 with a minimum $1.2 million purse, and it will retain qualifying spots for the British Open Championship as part of the Open Qualifying Series. The tournaments were played a month apart this season, with the new South African Open taking the Joburg Open's early December spot.
Ernie Els, who is now player host of the tournament, is thrilled with the merger.
"It's been an exciting last few years for the South African Open in which we've made this tournament one of the great championships of world golf again," Els said. "This is another important step in this process, with a major internationally-recognized city such as Johannesburg aligning itself so strongly with our national Open."
South Africa had been a frequent stop early in the European Tour schedule, but the tournament will now represent the lone event in the country early in the season.