Top 12 golfers set for Sun City

2010-10-24 11:30

This year’s Nedbank Golf Challenge, due to tee off at Sun City from December 2-5, will have a special significance in the minds of local golf lovers in more ways than one.

Firstly, the event, dubbed “Africa’s Major”, will be celebrating its 30th year at the picturesque Gary Player Country Club. And secondly, there is a big pie on offer – $1.25?million (about R8.6?million) slice – for the overall winner, for which the contestants will have to sweat it out in the usually sweltering
Pilanesberg summer heat.

The organisers have also ensured that a strong and extremely competent 12-man field, comprising a mixture of local and international players, will give the golf fans their money’s worth during the four-day ­showdown.

South Africa’s homegrown ­talent will take to the greens against a mixture of a majority of European players who have made their mark on the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) European Tour this year.

The excitement among scribes in the room was palpable during the official announcement when South Africa’s idol Ernie Els’ (41) name cropped up as among those who will be taking part.

“The Big Easy”, three-time winner of this showpiece who has won twice on the PGA, will be making a return to the line-up after a three-year lull.

He will be making his 15th Sun City appearance this year since his debut in 1992.

Another homespun hero, Retief “The Goose” Goosen (41), the Challenge’s erstwhile titleholder, will also showcase his prowess on the fairways.

The evergreen Tim Clark (34), who is renowned for his great swing when he executes long tee shots, will definitely make his mark. The diminutive KwaZulu-Natal player has had an impressive PGA Tour run with a win in the Players Championship.

However, all eyes will be on local sensation Louis Oosthuizen (28). The man nicknamed “Shrek”, recently carved himself a niche by annexing the prestigious Open Championship at St Andrews in Scotland.

As City Press had predicted in last week’s edition, Englishman and World No?2 Lee Westwood and his fellow countrymen ­Justin Rose and Ross Fisher will be making the trip down south.

Other top European golfers expected to shine include Irishman Padraig Harrington and Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez.

The US contingent will be conspicuous by their absence as they?have?showed?their?reluctance this year to fly down south.

The 12-man field:

Clark, Els, Goosen and Oosthuizen (all South Africa); Lee Westwood, Justine Rose and Ross Fisher (all England); Robert
Allenby (Australia); Anders Hansen (Denmark); Padraig Harrington (Ireland), Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spain); and Edoardo Molinari (Italy).

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