Sunshine Tour

NGC set to attract big guns

Golf ball near cup (File)
Golf ball near cup (File)

Johannesburg - The 2013 Nedbank Golf Challenge will be sanctioned, for the first time, by the European and Sunshine Tour in a bid to attract more quality golfers, said tournament director Alastair Roper in Johannesburg on Thursday.

It would feature a 30-man field - compared with the twelve players featured over the last 20 years - and a significantly increased purse of $6.5-million. As in previous editions, it would also allocate world rankings points.

The format was changed to target more US PGA golfers and potential European Tour Ryder Cup players, Roper said.

"It means the money is valid on both the European and Sunshine tours, and counts for both Ryder Cup and world ranking points.

“With the Race to Dubai (European Order of Merit) finishing on the 17th December, it is a great opportunity for players to improve their positions.”

The winner would pocket a cheque of $1.25-million while the last place finisher would be assured of $100 000.

The tournament, which dates back 32 years, was aimed at attracting the world's best golfers but, in recent years, it clashed with a full calendar of overseas events and failed to draw a top field.

“This is an event that has been known to change," Roper said.

“We started with five players in 1981 and, in 2003, we increased the field to 18 with the Presidents Cup being held at Fancourt.

“We've always tried to accommodate the players from Europe who have supported the event."

The event, which tees off on December 5 at Sun City, near Rustenburg, brings to seven the number of co-sanctioned European and Sunshine Tour events held in South Africa.

“In December the weather is pretty poor in Europe so to see this oasis in Africa is something the players really look forward to," European Tour CEO Keith Waters said.

“The Ryder Cup qualification begins in September so we're confident this will be a very successful event.”

The field would include the top 10 available players from the 2013 Race to Dubai money list plus the leading 10 available players from within the top-30 Fedex Cup standings.

The winners of the 2013 SA Open and Alfred Dunhill Championship would also qualify as would South Africa's top golfers, in order of their world rankings.

2013 Nedbank Golf Challenge prize breakdown:

1 - $1 250 000
2 - $775 000
3 - $433 000
4 - $348 000
5 - $295 000
6 - $245 000
7 - $195 000
8  -  $175 000
9  -  $162 000
10 - $158 000
11 - $154 000
12 - $150 000
13 - $146 000
14 - $142 000
15 - $138 000
16 - $135 000
17 - $132 000
18 - $129 000
19 - $126 000
20 - $123 000
21 - $120 000
22 - $117 000
23 - $114 500
24 - $112 000
25 - $109 500
26 - $107 000
27 - $104 500
28 - $103 000
29 - $101 500
30 - $100 000

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