The first nine holes of the first round were played using the greensomes format, with both members of each pair hitting a tee shot on each hole, deciding on the better of the two and then playing foursomes (alternate shot) from there. After nine holes team points were earned based on each pair’s net score compared to their opponents.
From then it reverted to each played playing his own ball to contest the individual and better-ball competitions, but with team points on the line as well via one better-ball and two individual match-ups between the teams in each four-ball.
The teams each had two captains, one ‘inside the ropes’ and one ‘outside the ropes’, with Chairman Jabu Mabuza and CEO Sipho Maseko doing the respective honours for Team Telkom and CEO: Video Entertainment, Naspers Group Imtiaz Patel and Chairman Nolo Letele for Team SuperSport.
On the Wednesday before the event, Captains Mabuza and Patel met Supersport presenter Carol Tshabalala in a TV studio in Johannesburg to record the team selection process, in which the captains strategically picked their pairings to represent their teams.
What was immediately obvious was the increased level of competitiveness added via the team format with both captains and players engaging in a healthy amount of pre-tournament banter, most notably among the sports stars across all codes.
Incredibly, in the greensomes competition, Team Telkom won six of the last seven points available to claw themselves back from a heavy deficit to be on even terms following this new format.
They then pulled away from Supersport over the next nine holes of individual and better-ball play to hold a commanding 15 point lead overnight, leading to some very confident predictions from their captain at the charity dinner that evening and some equally canny comments from Team Supersport’s leadership around the importance of letting their new title sponsor win to ensure that they come back next year!
Day two was fiercely contested and, in an extraordinary turn of events, the outcome of the entire match came down to the results in the final four-ball on the course, with Team Telkom taking all the points on offer to win the overall contest by just two points – 117 to 115 – and bring an excellent first edition of the team competition to a thrilling close.
The individual net competition was won by former tennis professional Kevin Ullyett, who also paired up with James du Preez of Price Waterhouse Coopers to take the better-ball title.