Close on the heels of its sponsorship of the Dubai Desert Classic, Emirates Airline reaffirmed its commitment to premier, international golfing events by announcing its support for the Africa Open. Taking professional golf to the unspoilt Eastern Cape coastline, the Africa Open will be held at the splendid Fish River Country Club, an 18-hole Gary Player designed championship course near Port Alfred, from 7th to 10th February 2008. Part of the Sunshine Tour, the Africa Open promises to be a gathering of Southern Africa’s best players.
With the latest addition, the Sunshine Tour will now hit a record six tournaments on its 2008 Summer Swing, offering an all-time high of over $3m in total prize money.
Two-top players from nine African countries, including Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia and Madagascar, are expected to participate along with South Africa’s golfing elite. A field of 144 players will tee off at the distinctive Parklands grounds that last played host to the Fish River Sun Pro-Am tournament, won by seasoned campaigner, Ashley Roestoff.
Grant Wilson, Marketing Director Sunshine Tour welcomed the launch of the Africa Open - the first event to make its debut on the 2008 Sunshine Tour. ‘We are thrilled that Emirates, a renowned brand and leading sponsor of international golfing events will lend its support to the inaugural Africa Open. We are excited about this new initiative and delighted to be taking a record sixth Order of Merit event to the prestigious Fish River Sun.’
Ghaith Al Ghaith, Emirates’ Executive Vice President Commercial Operations Worldwide noted: ‘Golf is fast becoming a lifestyle preference for many of our passengers. As we continue to expand our presence in South Africa, the sponsorship of premier golf events such as the Africa Open will allow us to support the development of the game, as well as to connect with our customers by sharing their passion and interests.’
Emirates recently unveiled its plans to start daily services to Cape Town, starting 30th March.
For the tournament, Emirates has lined up a range of activities designed to engage spectators and corporate guests. Emirates’ VIP guests will have an exclusive opportunity to team up with golf professionals in the Pro-Am Tournament. In the Nearest-to-Pin contest, players will pit their skills to win two Emirates’ Business Class return tickets to Dubai.
Since 1987, Emirates has established a strong link with sports programmes and is an avid supporter of amateur and professional golf tournaments. The airline is the Official Carrier for the annual Dubai Desert Classic since 1989, the BMW Asian Open since 2004, the BMW International Open since 2003, the Hong Kong Open, the Volvo Asian Masters in Thailand and several other golfing tournaments.