Top field for Volvo Golf Champions
31 October 2012
The third edition of the Volvo Golf Champions takes place at the Durban Country Club from 10 to 13 January 2013. It will feature a field loaded with European Ryder Cup and South African stars. The prize purse for the tournament is €2 million (approximately R22.4-million).
The tournament venue, the Durban Country Club, has an outstanding history, having hosted the South African Open a record 17 times. It was recently voted one of the Top 100 golf courses in the world by Golf Magazine USA.
Chairman of the club Richard Pemberton said in a recent statement: "We are delighted to have been selected by Volvo and IMG to host the Volvo Golf Champions.
"We are already well under way in our preparations to make sure we provide the perfect stage for the European Tour’s stars to do battle."
The list of confirmed players includes South Africa's Branden Grace, who won the 2012 Volvo Golf Champions on The Links at Fancourt. He will be back to defend his title after a magnificent season during which he has won four times on the European Tour, with his other victories coming in the Joburg Open, the Volvo China Open, and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
After beginning the year in 265th place in the official world golf rankings, Grace has risen an astounding 227 places to 38th place.
Louis Oosthuizen, whose year has included victories in the African Open and Malaysian Open and a runner-up finish at The Masters, has confirmed his entry, while Retief Goosen has also qualified as a player with over 10 European Tour victories to his name.
Jose Maria Olazabel, this year's winning Ryder Cup captain, and Colin Montgomerie, the winning captain in 2010, will be in the field in January, Like Goosen, they qualify as players who have won more than 10 European Tour events.
Joining the group of players qualified under the 10-win rule is Thomas Bjorn. The Dane boasts 13 Tour titles.
Paul Casey, an 11-time winner on the Tour, is hoping to work through some injuries that have held him back in recent times. He commented: "Having hurt my shoulder last winter I was very disappointed to miss out on defending my 2011 Volvo Golf Champions title.
"I can't wait for the new season to begin as I am starting to find my form again. I will keep working hard to ensure I arrive in South Africa for the 2013 season with my game in the best possible shape."
Ryder Cup stars
Nicolas Colsaerts, Paul Lawrie and Francesco Molinari, who were part of the Ryder Cup winning team at Medinah, will not only play in the Volvo Golf Champions, but will also be part of the elite 12-man field for the Nedbank Golf Challenge, which tees off at the Gary Player Country Club at Sun City on 29 November.
Based on past results, the name Volvo carries some magic for Colsaerts, as he explained in a statement: "Volvo has been very good to me, with my first two wins coming at their events. It would be very neat if I could add this third Volvo tournament title to my C.V. and the most amazing way to start off the year."
Peter Hanson, who was used sparingly in the Ryder Cup win, showed his class at the weekend by holding off world number one Rory McIlroy to take victory in the BMW Masters in Shanghai. That result lifted him to second behind McIlroy in the Race to Dubai standings. He, too, is in the Nedbank Challenge field.
SA vs Europe
The battle between South Africa's leading golfers and Europe's top stars is sure to be one of the most interesting sub-plots of the event; At Fancourt, South Africans occupied six of the top 10 placces.
European Tour CEO George O'Grady is looking forward to an outstanding event. "The Volvo Golf Champions should make for a terrific start to 2013 and already, with this list of European Tour Champions, the field is shaping up well," he said.
"While Volvo is our longest-serving partner and this will mark their 78th European Tour event, we are also delighted to be working with new partners, the Kwa-Zulu Natal Province Government and South African Government.
"We also thank the Sunshine Tour for their support as we head to the Durban Country Club, another leading course in South Africa where golf, and its golfers, continue to enjoy a rich vein of form."
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