Wednesday, 25 February 2015


24 February 2015, St Andrews, Scotland: Defending Joburg Open champion George Coetzee believes there is a tremendous opportunity for players to qualify for the 144th Open at St Andrews at this week’s event in South Africa.
The leading three players who finish in the top ten and ties, who are not already exempt, will qualify for The Open which will be played at the Home of Golf from 16-19 July.
The Joburg Open is being played this week at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club and is the third event in the 2015 Open Qualifying Series following the Emirates Australian Open in November and the Thailand Golf Championship in December.
Coetzee achieved his first victory on the European Tour at the Joburg Open last year and secured one of the three qualifying places on offer for The Open along with fellow South African Justin Walters and Jin Jeong of South Korea.
The 28 year-old from Pretoria made his fourth consecutive appearance in The Open at Royal Liverpool and went on to finish 18th. He is already exempt for this year’s Open at St Andrews.
He said: “I was absolutely delighted to qualify for The Open at the Joburg Open last year. It was a brilliant added bonus that came with the win. It’s a great idea to give guys the opportunity to qualify at Tour events and it means everyone has a lot to play for with places in a Major Championship at stake.
“It is an amazing experience to play in The Open and I received tremendous support from the galleries at Hoylake. I was pleased to finish in the top 20 and it gives me great confidence for this year. I am really looking forward to playing in my first Open at St Andrews and enjoying the wonderful atmosphere there.”
The 2011 Open Champion and recently confirmed 2016 European Ryder Cup Captain Darren Clarke and two-time winner on the European Tour Edoardo Molinari are both exempt along with South Africa’s Thomas Aiken and Coetzee.
Among the other contenders for qualifying places this week will be England’s Andy Sullivan, who won last month’s South African Open Championship, Swede Alex Noren, who was runner-up to defending Open Champion Rory McIlroy in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic earlier this month, and four-time winner on the European Tour Grégory Bourdy. Former Joburg Open champion Richard Sterne and qualifier last year Walters will also be hoping to secure a place at St Andrews.
The Amateur Champion Bradley Neil, who played in The Open at Royal Liverpool last year, will join them in the field this week.
Seven players have already secured places in The Open through the Qualifying Series: Rod Pampling, Brett Rumford and Greg Chalmers from the Emirates Australian Open and Marcus Fraser, Scott Hend, Jonathan Moore and Anirban Lahiri from the Thailand Golf Championship.
Co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour and the European Tour, the Joburg Open will begin on Thursday with 210 players taking to Royal Johannesburg & Kensington’s East and West Courses. Following Friday’s second round, the field will be cut to the top 65 players and ties, who will play the final two rounds on the East Course.

Thursday, 19 February 2015




The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews

10 February 2015, St Andrews, Scotland: The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews is delighted to announce that Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Dame Laura Davies, Renée Powell, Belle Robertson MBE, Lally Segard, Annika Sorenstam and Louise Suggs have accepted invitations to become honorary members of the Club.
George Macgregor OBE, Captain of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, said, “It is an honour and a privilege for The Royal and Ancient Golf Club to welcome these remarkable women as honorary members. The Princess Royal enjoys a strong bond with Scotland and has shown great energy and commitment to developing sport through her work in the Olympic movement.
“This is an historic day for the Club and we could not be more proud also to welcome women who have distinguished themselves in golf over many years and have been great players and champions. They are extremely worthy additions to our roll of honorary members and will become ambassadors for the Club as they have been for the sport of golf throughout their careers.”
The Princess Royal follows Their Royal Highnesses The Duke of Edinburgh, The Duke of York and The Duke of Kent in becoming an honorary member of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club.
Having herself competed in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, The Princess Royal is a member of the International Olympic Committee and was a member of the London Organising Committee for the 2012 Olympic Games. The Princess Royal is a Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle in Scotland and has been Patron of the Scottish Rugby Union since 1986.
In September, The Royal and Ancient Golf Club’s members voted by an 85% majority to admit women as members for the first time in its 260-year history. Today’s announcement follows that historic ballot and, in addition to the honorary members, a number of women have been admitted as members of the Club with more set to follow in the coming months.
Dame Laura Davies, is widely regarded as Britain’s greatest female golfer having won four Major Championships and 79 events around the world. She won the Women’s British Open at Royal Birkdale in 1986 and the US Women’s Open in 1987. She played in every Solheim Cup match from 1990 to 2011 and is the leading all-time points scorer. A former world number one, Laura Davies was the first non-American to finish at the top of the LPGA money list and also won the LET Order of Merit a record seven times. In 2014 she was appointed DBE for her services to golf and in July 2015 she will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame at a ceremony in St Andrews.
Renée Powell played in more than 250 events, having joined the LPGA Tour in 1967. In 1979, she became the first woman to be a head professional at a golf course in the United Kingdom, at Silvermere, near London. After leaving the LPGA Tour in 1980, she developed inner-city youth golf programmes in the United States and in 1995 became the first African-American female Class A member of The PGA of America and the LPGA. In 2003, Renée Powell received the Professional Golfers' Association of America’s First Lady of Golf award and four years later the inaugural Rolex For the Love of the Game Award. In 2008 she was made an honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD) by the University of St Andrews.
The great Scottish amateur golfer Belle Robertson won the British Ladies Amateur Championship in 1981 and the Scottish Ladies Close Amateur Championship on seven occasions. She represented Great Britain and Ireland in seven Curtis Cups and was part of the first team to win the match on American soil in 1986.  She captained the team twice. Belle Robertson was voted Scottish Sportswoman of the Year on four occasions and Woman Golfer of the year three times. In 1973, she was appointed MBE for services to golf and was named as one of the 50 inaugural members of the Scottish Sport Hall of Fame in 2002.
Lally Segard (née Vagliano) is one of France’s greatest golfers, winning the British Girls’ Championship in 1937 and, as Vicomtesse de Saint-Sauveur, 14 international titles including the British Ladies’ Amateur in 1950. As President of the Women’s Committee of the World Amateur Golf Council (now the International Golf Federation) she helped found the Espirito Santo Trophy, the women’s World Amateur Team Championship. She was France’s non-playing captain from the inaugural event in 1964 until 1972. Lally Segard is an Officer of France’s National Order of Merit and a Commander of the Order of Sporting Merit.
One of the most successful golfers in history, Annika Sorenstam is a former world number one who won 89 events around the world, including ten Major Championships. She won the Rolex Player of the Year award on eight occasions and represented Europe in the Solheim Cup eight times between 1994 and 2007, before serving as vice-captain for the victorious European side in 2011 and 2013. Annika Sorenstam was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2003 and retired from competitive golf in 2008 to focus on establishing the Annika Academy and the Annika Foundation, which support aspiring junior golfers.
Louise Suggs, a co-founder and former President of the LPGA, won the US Women’s Amateur in 1947 and the British Ladies’ Amateur in 1948, before turning professional and winning 58 events, including 11 Major Championships. She was an inaugural inductee into the LPGA Hall of Fame, established in 1967, and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. The Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, given each year to the most accomplished first-year player on the LPGA Tour, is named in her honour. In 2007, she received the Bob Jones Award, given by the USGA in recognition of great sportsmanship in golf.

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews
Her Majesty The Queen is Patron of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.
The Honorary Members of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews are: His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, His Royal Highness The Duke of York, His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent, The Honourable G.H.W. Bush, Peter Alliss, Sir Michael Bonallack OBE, Tony Jacklin CBE, John Jacobs OBE, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Peter Thomson CBE, Lee Trevino, Roberto De Vicenzo and Tom Watson.
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews holds a unique position in golf. Established in 1754, it evolved through two and a half centuries as a leading authority in the world game.
As the Club celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2004 it devolved responsibility for the administration of the Rules of Golf, the running of The Open Championship and other key events, and the development of the game in existing and emerging golfing nations, to a newly formed group of companies collectively known as The R&A.  
As a separate entity The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews remains as a private golf club with a world-wide membership of 2,400.

Photo captions:
Annika Sorenstam

Dame Laura Davies. 

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal.  
 credit: Anthony Harvey / Stringer
Dame Laura Davies. 
Getty Images / Andrew Redington
Annika Sorenstam. 
credit: Getty Images / Scott Halleran