“The South African Golf Association, in conjunction with its newly formed operations company Golf RSA, is very pleased to announce that we are launching an annual reciprocating tour in partnership with the India Golf Union,” said South African Golf Association Acting President Geoff Taylor.
“Both countries will select a four-man Senior and four-man Mid-Amateur team each and the tour will launch on the first of December in Calcutta, India, with two Test matches. We believe the tour will become a very popular attraction for Senior and Mid-Amateur golfers in both countries.
“It not only represents the top ranked players the chance to challenge each other, but it also provides the South African Golf Association and the India Golf Union with a wonderful new platform to promote the game across the senior and mid-amateur sectors.
“We wish to thank Golf RSA CEO Grant Hepburn for his invaluable input in assisting the South African Golf Association to consolidate this exciting new initiative with the India Golf Union.”
Taylor said the team selection will be based on the Senior and Mid-Amateur Rankings respectively.
“Since the Tour has Test match status, both four-man teams will be awarded national colours,” he said. “It is therefore incumbent upon the South African Golf Association to select the best players available, as close as possible to the start of the tournament.
“The selection criteria for both the Senior and Mid-Amateur teams will follow our long-standing selection policy for the selection of four-man teams to play for South Africa. The top three players on the respective Orders of Merit will automatically be picked, providing of course that they have met the qualifying criteria, and the fourth position will be a wild card selection to be determined by the selectors.”
The Mid-Amateur team will be announced at the prize-giving of the Mid-Amateur Inter-Provincial in Rustenburg on Friday, 14 October 2016, and the Senior Amateur team at the prize-giving of the Indwe SA Senior Stroke Play Championship at Kyalami on 21 October 2016.
“These dates should afford the players sufficient time to plan for the remaining events in the year to earn the necessary points to improve their ranking and gain eligibility for selection,” Taylor said. “I must point out that there is a disparity between the age brackets of our two countries, which is currently under discussion.
“In South Africa, the Mid-Amateur age bracket starts at 30 and the Senior age bracket starts at 50 to conform to the prevailing international standards. The India Golf Union’s Mid-Amateur age bracket also starts at 30, but their Senior age bracket starts at 55.
“In order for us to award the teams national colours, we will comply India Golf Union standard for the seniors for the purpose of this tour, unless otherwise advised.”
Current number one ranked Senior, Mellette Hendrikse, said the seniors are extremely excited about the upcoming Tour.
“The senior amateur circuit in South Africa is highly competitive and the prospect of representing South Africa on the tour to India has already created a real buzz,” Hendrikse said.
“We compete internationally as individuals and we always fly the South African flag with pride, but to wear the green and gold for South Africa is the ultimate goal in any sport. This tour will mark the first time in senior amateur history that a team will represent South Africa on the global stage and there are a lot of players who will be vying for that honour.
“Personally, I am going to do my level best to make sure I earn a spot on that team because I might also get the chance to play against the legendary cricketer Kapil Dev, India’s top ranked senior amateur player. It would be a huge honour to compete against the man who took India to World Cup victory.”
To view the current Senior and Mid-Amateur rankings, visit www.saga.co.za.