Two new tournaments in South Africa allied to the traditionally strong ‘Desert Swing’ in Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Dubai are the highlights of the initial sector of The 2013 European Tour International Schedule, where 18 tournaments across four continents once again emphasises the Tour’s global appeal and reach.
The 2013 Race to Dubai will begin with the first of the two new events to be staged in South Africa, the Nelson Mandela Championship from December 6-9, 2012; a tournament which will carry the name of the man who was South African president from 1994 to 1999 and who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
The second new tournament, the inaugural €1.5 million Tshwane Open, will be staged from February 28-March 3 at the Ernie Els-designed Copperleaf Golf and Country Estate, a stunning venue built on land in Centurion which was once inhabited by the reigning Open Champion’s grandfather, Ernie Vermaak.
Three other events in South Africa take their place in the early part of the 2013 season: the Alfred Dunhill Championship, which will carry an increased prize fund of €1.5million and will return to Leopard Creek Country Club, in Malelane, from December 13-16, 2012; the Joburg Open, which returns to Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club, in Johannesburg, from February 7-10; and the Africa Open, which takes place from February 14-17 at East London Golf Club in the Eastern Cape.
The following week, the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain in Arizona hosts the first World Golf Championship event of the 2013 season, the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, held a fortnight before England’s Justin Rose defends his WGC-Cadillac Championship title at the Donald Trump-owned Doral Golf Resort & Spa, in Florida, from March 7-10.
One week later, the Schedule heads to India for the Avantha Masters, which has been moved from its traditional February slot to March 14-17, whilst the Trophée Hassan II returns to the Golf du Palais Royal at Agadir in Morocco from March 28-31. It leaves the March 21-24 date vacant at the moment, but there will be a tournament announcement for that week in the near future.
As with this season, April’s golfing action will begin in Georgia with the Masters Tournament at Augusta National from April 11-14, with the first Major Championship of 2013 being followed by the Reale Seguros Open de España which has been brought forward from its traditional May date to April 18-21.
The European Tour then returns to Asia for the Ballantine’s Championship, held for the third year in succession at Blackstone Golf Club in Seoul, South Korea, from April 25-28; and the second Volvo-sponsored tournament on the 2013 Schedule, the Volvo China Open from May 2-5 – the first being the elite Volvo Golf Champions from January 10-13.
After the Volvo Golf Champions, The European Tour’s ‘Desert Swing’ – starting with the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship at Abu Dhabi GolfClub from January 17-20, and closing with the Omega Dubai Desert Classic from January 31-February 3 – retains its traditional place in the Schedule, although next year the Commercialbank Qatar Masters runs from Wednesday January 23 to Saturday January 26.
Keith Waters, The European Tour’s Chief Operating Officer and Director of International Policy, said: “The addition of two new tournaments in South Africa is testament to the strength and popularity of golf in the country, with the Open Champion Ernie Els and his fellow Major winners Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel all such great ambassadors for the Tour, and Branden Grace having won three times this season.
“Combined with the return of several of our most prestigious tournaments, the Nelson Mandela Championship and the Tshwane Open help to make up a very strong initial sector which should appeal to all our Members.
“Our thanks, as always, go to our Federation and co-sanctioning partners, sponsors and promoters for their on-going support in making The European Tour a leading exponent in the development of golf across the globe, and we look forward to welcoming them to our events on The 2013 European Tour International Schedule.”
To view the initial sector of the 2013 European Tour International Schedule, click here.