Ryder Cup stars to take Durban by storm
The preliminary field announced for the third Volvo Golf Champions to be played at Durban Country Club was littered with talent, and will include three of the players on Jose Maria Olazabal's victorious European Ryder Cup team from Medinah.
Nicolas Colsaerts, Francesco Molinari and Paul Lawrie are all confirmed entries, while Olazabal and 2010 Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie are also going to be teeing it up on January 10. Two-time Ryder Cup vice-captain Thomas Bjorn, former Ryder Cup player Paul Casey and the European Tour’s most recent winner, Peter Hanson, will also be joining these Ryder Cup heroes and look to kick-start their 2013 campaign with a win in Durban.
South Africans Branden Grace, Louis Oosthuizen and Retief Goosen (provided his back recovers) have also accepted their invitations for the event, and it is a field that already has a formidable look about it.
George O'Grady CBE, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: "The Volvo Golf Champions should make a terrific start to 2013 and already, with this list of European Tour Champions, the field is shaping up well."
The second edition of the event was held at the Links at Fancourt in January of this year, and will be burned into the memory of every South African golf fan for a long time as rising star Branden Grace held off fellow South Africans Ernie Els and Retief Goosen in a dramatic playoff to claim his second of four European Tour titles in 2012.
The Volvo Golf Champions will be the first event of the New Year, and will offer a total prize fund of €2 million with a winner’s cheque of €350 000. The field itself consists of the winners of European Tour events during the 2012 season, along with current Tour Members with more than 10 European Tour career victories to their credit. As such, the field will likely include between 35 and 40 of the finest players in the history of the European Tour.
Per Ericsson, President of Volvo Event Management for Golf, expressed his satisfaction at the number of marquee players that were already confirmed for the event.
“We are still a few months out from the Volvo Golf Champions and this is a great list of players to have already been able to announce,” he said.
Durban Country Club is a course steeped in history having hosted 17 SA Opens, and it was recently voted one of the top 100 courses in the world by Golf Magazine USA – the only course in Africa to have been granted this honour.
MEC for Economic Development and Tourism for the Kwa-Zulu Natal Province Government, Michael Mabuyakhulu, expressed his delight at the event coming to the province.
“The tournament is very important to our strategy to grow our tourism offering and we are very pleased with the results so far. We are looking forward to showing off all the province of KwaZulu-Natal has to offer,” he said.
Chairman of the Durban Country Club, Richard Pemberton, added: “We are already well under way in our preparations to make sure we provide the perfect stage for the European Tour stars to do battle.”
Tickets will be available for purchase at the gate, but event organisers Volvo and IMG announced today that there will be a limit of 15 000 spectators per day, so those wanting to watch the event are advised to purchase tickets in advance at www.computicket.com (or phone 086 1915 8000) to avoid disappointment.