Cape Town - Rory McIlroy has confirmed his participation in the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player later this year.
The four-time Major winner is set to headline a world-class field at the penultimate series event on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai from November 8-11, 2018.
The former world No 1 will tee it up in Sun City, alongside 2017 Masters champion Sergio Garcia, for the first time since 2009 after a strong start to the European Tour season with consecutive top three finishes in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, a tied fifth result at the Masters, and second place at the BMW PGA Championship in May.
The Northern Irishman has unfinished business in South Africa following his runner up finish to Graeme Storm at the 2017 SA Open, with the crowd favourite set to return to a country he has always enjoyed both on and off the golf course.
“I’m looking forward to going back to Sun City,” said McIlroy.
“I haven’t been there in a long time, so I’m excited about playing it.
“I’ve always had a great time in South Africa whether it be playing golf tournaments, going on safari, or visiting some of the cities.”
This year the Nedbank Golf Challenge is once again part of the Rolex Series - the premium category of tournaments on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, with a prize fund of $7.5 million at the event in South Africa - and will be a pivotal tournament in helping crown the Race to Dubai champion and European No 1 the following week.
McIlroy added: “I have been fortunate to win the Race to Dubai on three occasions and this year I want to give myself every chance of winning it for the fourth time.
“So the Nedbank Golf Challenge is a huge week on my schedule and the penultimate event before we battle it out for the Race to Dubai title.”
Tournament host Gary Player added: "I am thrilled that Rory McIlroy will be competing in Africa's Major this year at the Gary Player Country Club in South Africa. Rory is a four-time Major winner and the crowds simply love rooting for him so no doubt his participation will bring even more energy to the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City. We are going to have a fantastic field and we are all very excited to watch the drama on the course unfold in November."
Mike Brown, CEO of Nedbank, commented: “The Nedbank Golf Challenge is a world class platform to showcase our country and the golfing talent that abounds in South Africa and around the world. We are delighted that it continues to attract the top players in the world and look forward to hosting Rory McIlroy and other golfing stars at Sun City for Africa’s Major.”
Anthony Leeming, CEO of Sun International stated: “We are excited to welcome back Rory to the Nedbank Golf Challenge, hosted by Gary Player, for the first time since 2009. The Nedbank Golf Challenge has a history of always attracting the greatest players of a generation to the Gary Player Country Club for this event.
“I have no doubt that Rory making the decision to include Sun City on his schedule will convince a number of other top players to do the same this year, especially with our positioning as the second last tournament on the Race to Dubai and as part of the prestigious Rolex Series. Rory is also a tremendous friend of South African golf who has a huge following in this country, and his presence in this year’s field is bound to make for a memorable tournament.”