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Events And Venues

Men's professional golf may be officially done in North America for 2012 but this coming week offers a trio of significant events in far off corners of the globe.  Tops on the list is the 103rd playing of the South African Open, an event which has drawn varied levels of field over the years (largely dependent upon its spot on the ever-shifting international calendar) and which has been co-sanctioned by the European Tour since 1997.  Foreigners have made the occasional splash here over the decades but by and large the Open's list of champions speaks to the degree of dominance demonstrated domestically by South Africa's four greatest golfers: Sid Brews (a glaring omission from the World Golf Hall of Fame and an eight-time champion between 1925 and 1952), the legendary Bobby Locke (nine times a winner from 1935-1955, the first two as an amateur), Gary Player (unbelievably a 13-time winner between 1956 and 1981) and, most recently, Ernie Els, a five-time champion.  This year's playing will be the second at the Serengeti Golf & Wildlife Estate, a modern Jack Nicklaus-designed facility located east of Johannesburg (course info here, event website here)...............Next up is the Hong Kong Open, an event which dates to 1959 and which has been co-sanctioned by the European Tour since 2001.  Once again, shifting schedules are an issue, leaving the E Tour in the rather odd position of co-sanctioning two major international events (located some 6,600 miles apart) during the same week.  At least in terms of European stars, Hong Kong figures to be the bigger draw, largely due to the presence of World Number One Rory Mcilroy, who returns to defend his 2011 title.  The event's website is here, while the website of the colorful Hong Kong Golf Club is visible here...............Lastly, this week also offers the 34th playing of the Australian Masters, the newest of Oz's three major summer events, dating to 1979.  Though Gene Littler, Bernhard Langer, Justin Rose and (when the event went on a 2009 appearance fee binge) Tiger Woods have all won here, the overall roster of champions has been dominated by Australians, led by Greg Norman, who hoisted the trophy six times between 1981 and 1990.  Of greatest interest to overseas fans, however, is the event's venue, for it returns for the second time to Kingston Heath, a layout second only to Royal Melbourne as the nation's best.  The event's website is here, while a hole-by-hole tour of Kingston Heath is viewable here.

Posted on Sunday, November 11, 2012 at 09:02PM by Registered CommenterDaniel | Comments Off