Gary Player invitational gets the cream

2014-11-16 15:00

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A glittering array of international golf stars will tee up alongside celebrities and business leaders in the Gary Player Invitational charity event at the Lost City Golf Course in North West on Friday.

The tournament, co-presented by Coca-Cola, is the brainchild of South African golf legend Gary Player, and it is staged by his company, Black Knight International.

The aim is to pledge support to local charitable organisations – Wings and Wishes, and Wildlands Conservation Trust in partnership with Qhubeka – as selected beneficiaries to provide aid to disadvantaged communities across the country.

The event forms part of the series that also travels to the US, Europe, China and Abu Dhabi to raise funds for charities.

Since 1983, the Player Foundation has raised a whopping $60?million (R665?million) to aid underprivileged children globally.

Player, who turned 79 three weeks ago, told City Press this week the Lost City contest will be a special one because of the competitive field (see box) and because of the great charity initiative.

“It’s heartening for us to stage this event at Lost City once more because we would really like to give hope and create a brighter future for children,” said Player.

“We have ensured this event becomes a great success, and that players themselves will give their all in the charitable contest.

“Last week, we had a charity event at Shanghai Links Golf & Country Club in China to support the Zhejiang Xinhua Compassion Education Foundation in Education, which provided meals for children in rural areas. We hope this event will be a huge success.”

Last year’s competition at the same course was contested by top international players, including South Africa’s Retief Goosen and US female professional golfer Cheyenne Woods, who plays on the Ladies Professional Golf Association tour.

Player, the country’s most successful golfer in history, will lead the field when the first round starts on Saturday – a day after the pro-am competition.

This year’s showdown will see former three-time major winner, Ireland’s Pádraig Harrington, making his first appearance at the North West venue.

He joins Ian Woosnam of Wales, who was crowned the masters champion in 1991 and the 2006 Ryder Cup European team captain.

There is no doubt that with celebrities in the mix, the tournament will be exciting.

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