Greats grace SA event

2014-12-04 00:00

SUN CITY — Charl Schwartzel asked him for a swing tip. Lee Westwood wanted to know about his horses. Martin Kaymer wanted to hear his stories about Ben ­Hogan. For every one of the 30-man field gathered for this year’s Nedbank Golf Challenge, receiving a personal welcome from Gary Player during Tuesday’s pro-am made for a memorable start to “Africa’s Major”.

Player had Kaymer in stitches with his tales of Hogan. “When I first played with Hogan, he said five words to me all round. They were, ‘Hello fella’ and at the end, ‘Well played, son’. People told me he must have been talkative that day,” said Player.

Even some of the caddies took time to quiz Player about the nuances of one of South Africa’s most iconic golf courses. They asked him how they should read the swirling winds that come in over the ­surrounding Pilanesberg mountains, to the work that went into designing a golf course that has remained challenging from the days of Ballesteros, Nicklaus, Trevino and others in 1981 to the 2013 showpiece when Denmark’s Thomas Bjørn won by two shots.

Bjørn is one of three former champions of this event in the field, including Kaymer (2012) and Westwood (2010, 2011).

The field also includes three Major champions, led by Kaymer (2010 PGA Championship, 2014 U.S. Open), Schwartzel (2011 Masters) and Louis ­Oosthuizen (2010 Open Championship).

Bjørn, Kaymer and Westwood are also joined by Jamie Donaldson and Stephen Gallacher as five of the 12 players who were on the victorious European Ryder Cup team at Gleneagles. And Kaymer, ­Westwood and Luke Donald are all three former world number ones. It all makes for a tantalising field with any number of ­potential winners.

“It’s always great coming back to a golf course where you’ve had success in the past,” said Westwood.

And those who are making their debut in this event were also impressed with their first look at the golf course.

“I like the course. There are small greens, so you have to be accurate with your irons. But it plays to a lot of my strengths, which will be interesting as the week goes along,” said American Brooks Koepka.

“The course is in great shape,” added Sweden’s Jonas Blixt. “It’s great being here and a lot of fun. There are a lot of things to do in this resort. I went on safari ­yesterday and saw three of the Big Five.”

Full round one tee times

10:10: Miguel Angel Jimenez (ESP)

Tim Clark (RSA)

Shane Lowry (IRL)

10:21: Joost Luiten (NED)

Jaco Ahlers (RSA)

Kevin Na (USA)

10:32: Marc Warren (SCO)

Danie van Tonder (RSA)

Danny Willett (ENG)

10:43: Louis Oosthuizen (RSA)

Lee Westwood (ENG)

Martin Kaymer (GER)

10:54: Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA)

Dawie Van der Walt (RSA)

Brendon Todd (USA)

11:05: Jonas Blixt (SWE)

Tommy Fleetwood (ENG)

Mikko Ilonen (FIN)

11:16: George Coetzee (RSA)

Marcel Siem (GER)

Ross Fisher (ENG)

11:27: Jamie Donaldson (WAL)

Stephen Gallacher (SCO)

Thongchai Jaidee (THA)

11:38: Brooks Koepka (USA)

Pablo Larrazabal (ESP)

Alexander Levy (FRA)

11:49: Thomas Bjorn (DEN)

Charl Schwartzel (RSA)

Luke Donald (ENG)

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Man scores date with tennis superstar after Twitter bet

It’s a modern day Cinderella story, but one American man took ‘shoot your shot’ seriously in 2017.


You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.