Sunshine Tour

Player likes Sun City format

Gary Player (Supplied)
Gary Player (Supplied)

Rustenburg - The new format of an expanded 30-man field at the 2013 Nedbank Challenge was a recipe for success, Gary Player said at Sun City on Saturday.

“I think it's a fantastic idea. I've always been in favour of a bigger field,” Player said.

“For a tournament to have 12 players and count for world rankings is not right. To have 30 players is the answer for us.”

The event, which began in 1981, had a limited field and only recently saw world ranking points being introduced. In an attempt to lure big-name players, the tournament had an increased purse and would also be co-sanctioned with the European Tour for the first time this year.

The new format had helped secure major crowd-puller Ernie Els, making a record 17th appearance in the $6.5million (approximately R67 million) event.

“I think it's fantastic Ernie is playing. He is a part of this golf tournament," Player said.

“He's done well in it and we want to see good representation from South Africa because obviously every one is pulling for our guys.”

The four-time major winner was originally scheduled to play in Tiger Woods' World Challenge in the same week as the Nedbank Golf Challenge.

Instead, he decided to support the local tournament he has won three times and earned a record amount of prize money from its 32-year history.

Player also felt a guaranteed pay cheque, with no cut, should get some big names out to the Gary Player Country Club.

“You offer young pros today $100 000/$200 000 to come and play in a golf tournament and they don't come.

“If I get offered R2 million, I get in my boat and I row over.”

To date, 16 players had been confirmed for the tournament which tees off on December 5: (RSA unless stated) Thaworn Wiratchant (Thailand), Branden Grace, Gary Woodland (US), Henrik Stenson (Sweden), Justin Rose (England), Kevin Streelman (US), Martin Kaymer (Germany), Peter Senior (Australia), Luke Donald (England), Sergio Garcia (Spain), Brendon de Jonge (Zimbabwe), DA Points (US), Richard Sterne, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Ernie Els.

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