The Nedbank Golf Challenge 2016 – Preview

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It’s nearly time for the premier golf tournament in South Africa, the Nedbank Golf Challenge or as most South African’s still fondly refer to it as the “Million Dollar”. Held at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City, the first round commences on the 10th of November. The event which traditionally fell in the first week of December each year, has been brought forward so that it becomes a meaningful event to determine the final outcome of the European Tour’s Race to Dubai. It now becomes the penultimate tournament on the roster, which means it attracts a lot of the big guns vying for the title of European Champion Golfer of the year.

So there is now a field of 72 players with some great players winging their way to sweltering Sun City. There are quite a few players who represented Europe at this year’s Ryder Cup namely rookie star Thomas Pieters, Master Champion Danny Willett, Open Champion Henrik Stenson, Chris Wood, Andy Sullivan and Rafa Cabrera Bello.

The South African contingent often do well at Sun City and are always worth a flutter. South African players joining the field this year are Brandon Grace, Charl Schwartzel, George Coetzee, Louis Oosthuizen, Retief Goosen and Richard Sterne to name but a few. The crowds behind the ropes will all get behind their favourites, but you can be sure that the one sound which you will hear continuously are the cries of “BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEF”. The nickname of the very popular and affable Andrew Johnston, who will also be making his way down South to join us.

It would remise not to mention some of the form players on the European Tour in the recent weeks. Alex Noren has been on fire, Tyrell Hatton won the Dunhill at St Andrews recently, Ross Fisher came second losing in a play-off in France.

Gary Player now 81 years old, will be hosting the Nedbank Golf Challenge, which is played on the course which bears his name. Sun City always demands the best from the players, it can be brutally hot and the course is very long which may play into the hands of the boys who can bomb it long. You don’t want to be wayward on this track and the bush around each hole is dense, prickly and inhabited by baboons (although the large galleries normally keep them away).

This should be another humdinger, so strap in for a week of top class golf and action.

Our tip for the week is Henrik Stenson although Alex Noren could be a surprise on his first visit to Sun City. Time will tell.

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