JOHANNESBURG – South African golf fans will again be able to watch the best of the best from the European Tour when the Nedbank Golf Challenge tees off at the Gary Player Country Club at Sun City next week.
And joining that elite group will be three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington, who has accepted an invitation to play at the $7.5 million event, which forms part of the Race to Dubai and is the seventh event in the lucrative Rolex Series.
Other Major winners who’ll tee it up alongside the Irishman between November 9 and 12 include South African favourites, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel, and Martin Kaymer and Henrik Stenson.
“I’m delighted to be returning to Sun City and the Nedbank Golf Challenge where I have some great memories,” said Harrington, who recorded one of the lowest rounds in the history of the tournament when he shot 61 in the third round in 2001.
“My game is in good shape and I’m looking forward to finishing off the season on a strong note.
“There is always a strong field for the Nedbank Golf Challenge, which tends to bring out the best in your game, and the golf course is one I particularly enjoy.”
Harrington has won 15 times on the European Tour and bagged the 2007 and 2008 Open Championships and the 2008 US PGA Championship.
The current field also includes two former world number ones in Kaymer and Lee Westwood.
And both Kaymer and Westwood make for five previous Nedbank Golf Challenge champions headed to Sun City, alongside Stenson, Thomas Bjørn and defending champion Alex Noren.
The field also includes the current leader of the Race to Dubai rankings presented by Rolex, Tommy Fleetwood, as well as a further five players within the top 10 on the Race to Dubai in Tyrrell Hatton (5th), Ross Fisher (6th), Rafa Cabrera Bello (7th), Noren (8th) and Francesco Molinari (9th).
Besides being able to cheer on Oosthuizen and Schwartzel, locals will also have several other South Africans to keep an eye on next week. Branden Grace will be hoping for a strong showing after a rather disappointing year, while George Coetzee will be out to continue his good recent form in Europe.
Also, Dylan Frittelli, Brandon Stone, Dean Burmester, Richard Sterne and Haydn Porteous have all shown enough good form in the last year or so to warrant a bit of a punt, if you’re that way inclined.