Zimbabwe’s hopes of taking the monkey off their back in the Africom Zimbabwe Open has suffered a setback as nine-time Sunshine Tour winner Marc Cayeux has been ruled out of the Sunshine Tour’s stop at the Royal Harare Golf Course as the pro is yet to recover from injuries suffered in an accident in September last year.
The Open will run from January 27-30.
The burly pro Cayeux who is undergoing medical treatment in Johannesburg was aiming to make a comeback on home soil in the second edition of the rebranded Zimbabwe Open.
Cayeux was injured in a horrific accident in Masvingo on September 24, when his vehicle collided with a top policewoman’s vehicle and she died on the spot.
Cayeux broke his ankle, his right knee was crushed and the right femur was dislocated but he was making a steady recovery and had tipped himself to be fit in time for the Zimbabwe Open.
Mike Mahachi, the Zimbabwe Open Committee secretary, said Cayeux was out of the R1 250 00 Zimbabwe Open. “Marc Cayeux has not fully recovered to make a comeback for the Zimbabwe Open. He was the country (Zimbabwe)’s hope but unfortunately he has not fully recovered.
“Our hopes are now on Tongo Charamba,” Mahachi said.
Mahachi said a field of 144 players are expected for the Zimbabwe Open and the Sunshine Tour has been allocated 104 slots with big guns like defending champion the diminutive JBE Kruger, James Kamte, Tony Johnstone, Darren Firchardt, Anthony Michael and Anthony Haig expected to part of the field.
The Sunshine Tour had submitted a list of 158 entries.
This means the pros that fall outside the top 104 on the Order of Merit will have to take part in the pre-qualifying tournament over 18 holes at Royal Harare on Tuesday for the 10 available slots for the Zimbabwe Open.
The top Zimbabwe Professional Golfers’ Association players have been allocated 10 straight entries into the Zimbabwe Open while the five top amateurs on the Order of Merit will also get a chance to rub shoulders with the crème de la crème in the Zimbabwe Open.
The home-based pros that fall outside the top 10 on the Order of Merit will fight for the five slots available in a pre-qualifying tournament at Royal Harare Golf Course.
The Zimbabwe Open was first played in 1984 and was part of what was known as the Safari Tour, a collection of events in Africa that were played by professionals playing on the European Tour during their winter.
As a result, it became an event on the European-based Challenge Tour in 1991, where it remained for two seasons before moving onto the FNB Summer Tour, which became the Southern Africa Tour and later the Sunshine Tour.
As it was held in the weeks preceding the Nedbank Golf Challenge, the tournament attracted some of the world’s leading players, as they used it as a warm-up to the big-money invitational.
Past winners include major winners Vijay Singh and Nick Price, who along with Mark McNulty is most successful player at the event, both men having recorded three victories.
Ryder Cup player Gordon J Brand is also a past winner.
Since its cancellation prior to the 2002 edition due to the economic instability in Zimbabwe leading to the withdrawal of sponsors, the Zimbabwe Open was resurrected in 2010.