Champagne Castle 121111 Warren Yunnie at the Mercury Million Golf callange at Champagne Sports Resort Picture: Shelley Kjonstad

It’s all systems go for |the sold-out 2012 Mercury Million Golf Tournament, which tees off at the Champagne Sports Resort tomorrow morning.

Come rain or shine, 120 players will take to the picturesque, top 30-ranked championship golf course surrounded by the majestic Drakensberg.

This year, for the first time, The Mercury Million will be played over two days, instead of three, with prize-giving on Saturday night so that players can enjoy Sunday at their leisure.

“Over the years we’ve tweaked the event to make |it one of the most enjoyable |and best value-for-money |amateur golfing tournaments in the country,” said organiser Vivian Sneedon, of Sun Events, yesterday. “After a game of golf tomorrow, the entrants will be treated to a welcome braai and entertainment, followed by another competitive day’s play on Saturday.”

The field – which consists largely of captains of business and entrepreneurs – will enjoy a prize-giving dinner on Saturday night with entertainment by Durban’s favourite funny-man, Aaron McIlroy.

“The Mercury Million is so popular that it is sold out |almost immediately, with a long waiting list of hopeful players,” said Sneedon.

Back this year to defend his Mercury Million title is John Allers, while Shirley Govender will be playing to defend her 2011 title.

19th hole

“With only eight women in the line-up, she’s got a really good chance,” laughed Sneedon.

And, of course, another reason The Mercury Million is so popular (although it’s not officially a draw card) is because the Champagne Sports clubhouse has been rated in the top five of 19th holes in South Africa.

And any golfer will tell you how the 19th hole is often the hardest to beat.

* The full results of the 2012 Mercury Million will be published in The Mercury on Monday.