A new golf tournament in Mauritius will become the first tri-sanctioned event to be endorsed by the sport’s European, Asian and Sunshine Tours.
The three Tours, which are all founding members of the International Federation of PGA Tours, have confirmed that the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open will take place at the Heritage Golf Club on the island from May 7-10, 2015.
The 138-man field, comprising at least 40 professionals from each of the participating Tours plus qualifiers and local invitees, will compete in a 72-hole stroke play championship, with the results counting towards the individual Tours’ orders of merit and world ranking points.
The tournament illustrates the improving relationships between various Tours, which have increasingly explored co-operations since the European Tour began co-sanctioning tournaments with the Sunshine Tour – then called the South African PGA Championship – in the mid-1990s.
Next month, the European Tour and PGA of America will co-sanction the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Perthshire, Scotland.
One of the benefits of co-sanctioning events is that such an approach can boost a tournament’s prize fund, and the total €1 million ($1.34 million) purse on offer for the Mauritius Open is likely to attract a string of top golfers.
Selwyn Nathan, executive director of the Sunshine Tour, described the deal as “groundbreaking” while Asian Tour Chief Executive Officer Mike Kerr said that the tournament would represent a “milestone” for the Tours.
European Tour chief operating officer and director of international policy Keith Waters said: “Golf is a major part of Mauritius’ tourism strategy and through the support of the sponsors the tournament will showcase the island to a worldwide television audience as part of the 2015 Race to Dubai.”
The Heritage Golf Club, which will host the event, is operated by Rogers Group, which operates extensively in the local tourism industry and has about 4,000 employees.
AfrAsia Bank has signed up as the title sponsor of the event.