Leopard Creek  (Getty Images)
Leopard Creek (Getty Images)

The Nelson Mandela Championship will launch the fifth edition of The Race to Dubai, with the new event one of six tournaments to take place in South Africa on The 2013 European Tour International Schedule.

Taking place from December 6-9, 2012, the €1million (minimum) tournament, at a venue to be confirmed, will be co-sanctioned with the Sunshine Tour, comprising 156 players split equally between the two Tours.

A second new South African tournament, the inaugural Tshwane Open, will be staged from February 28-March 3 at the Ernie Els-designed Copperleaf Golf and Country Estate, with a prize fund of €1.5million. 

Launching the 2013 Race to Dubai, the Nelson Mandela Championship will be followed by the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek Country Club from December 13-16, which this year has an increased prize fund of €1.5million – an increase of more than 50 per cent – making it the joint richest on the South African swing, along with the new Tshwane Open.

The three remaining South African events on the initial sector of the 2013 Schedule are: the third edition of the elite Volvo Golf Champions, from January 10-13; 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.

Keith Waters, Chief Operating Officer and Director of International Policy for The European Tour, said: “We are delighted to be able to have two new events in South Africa, and six overall, on The 2013 European Tour International Schedule, especially in such challenging economic times.

“We are also very grateful to Dunhill, one of The European Tour’s long-term supporters, for the increased €1.5million prize fund for their championship, which now has a two-year exemption on The European Tour for the winner.

“Our thanks go to all of our sponsors and to the Sunshine Tour, with whom we co-sanction these six events, for their support during this early season swing.

“We hope to announce the remainder of the initial sector of our schedule early next month.”

The Nelson Mandela Championship, which bears the name of the man who was South African president from 1994 to 1999 and who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993,   was announced at a media briefing held at the offices of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund in Saxonwold.

Acting CEO of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, Moipone Buda-Ramatlo, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be associated with this prestigious event, which will both add significantly to our fund-raising efforts, as well as give us a worldwide platform through live television coverage to highlight our vitally important work in support of the neediest children throughout South Africa.

“We are looking forward to welcoming some of the world’s finest golfers to our shores who will compete with our leading South African golfers in their quest to be the first to lift the trophy at the Nelson Mandela Championship.”

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