Golf

Crocs, hippos, lions join Els

2009-12-09 14:41
Ernie Els (File)

Johannesburg - Ernie Els will compete for attention with crocodiles, hippos and lions when the 2010 Road to Dubai begins on Thursday on a golf course with a difference.

The par-72, 6 472-metre Leopard Creek Golf Club on the border of the world renowned Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga hosts the one-million-euro Alfred Dunhill Championship.

Designed by legend Gary Player, it is widely regarded as the best in the country and a fitting setting for the first of four December and January tournaments co-sanctioned by the South African and European tours.

"Leopard Creek is surrounded by bushveld and the fact that you could be playing while hearing a hippo snort or see a lion near a fence is unique, as is the pitch shot you might hit over a lake full of crocodiles," boasts Player.

Wide manicured fairways, huge bunkers, hilly greens and many lakes and rivers are other features of Leopard Creek, owned by South African billionaire Johann Rupert.

Former 'major' winner Els opted out of the Sun City Challenge last weekend to spend time with his family and his appearance at Leopard Creek will be the only one of the South African season.

Fellow South African Richard Sterne defends the Dunhill title and other big-name entrants include nine-time European Tour winner Thomas Bjorn of Denmark, Paul McGinley of Ireland and David Howell of England.

There are five former champions in the field - Sterne, Els, John Bickerton of England, Alvaro Quiros of Spain and another South African, Charl Schwartzel.

Bickerton could hardly believe his luck two years ago as he trailed Els by two strokes with one hole to go only for the South African to find water twice in a triple-bogey-eight finish.

Sterne, bottom of a 12-man invitation Challenge field last weekend and the sole competitor to finish over par, has confessed to swing worries ahead of his return to Leopard Creek.

"For a long time now my swing has not felt comfortable - it feels as though it is all about my hands. It is something small but I must correct it," said the defending champion.

"I am extremely frustrated. It is not like I want to stop playing or anything. What annoys me is I know I am capable of much better," the South African admitted.

Englishman Lee Westwood won the 2009 Road to Dubai - the European Tour order of merit - just 18 days ago after a final-round 64 swept him to victory in the season-ending Dubai World Championship.

Read more on:    ernie els
NEXT ON SPORT24X

Spieth trumps McIlroy, Scott

2014-11-27 10:47

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

Goalkeeper saves five penalties with his FACE!

Nothing, and we mean nothing, will keep goalkeeper Scott Stirling from stopping the ball!

 
 

Men24.com

Hottie of the day: Jesselyn
This invention makes farts smell like chocolate!
11 things men don’t know about their clothes
Hilarious mortal kombat elevator prank!
 
 
/Sport
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Featured

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs
Vote

Which is your favourite event on the golfing calendar?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.