Nedbank Challenge gets European Tour status

2015-11-17 15:48

Cape Town - Sun International has announced that the Nedbank Golf Challenge has taken another major step forward in global golf with an extended three-year sponsorship from Nedbank, an increase in prize money, and a premier place on the European Tour’s elite Final Series of the Race to Dubai.

Sun International announced on Tuesday that Nedbank had renewed their sponsorship of “Africa’s Major” for a further three years, and with the option to extend for another three years.

In 2016, the total prize money for the Nedbank Golf Challenge will be increased to $7 million.

The tournament will strengthen its standing as one of the premier events in world golf when it takes up a new position as one of the flagship tournaments on the European Tour’s elite Final Series. Together with the other Final Series tournaments, the Nedbank Golf Challenge will now form part of one of the richest season finales in world golf.

From 2016, the Nedbank Golf Challenge will be played at Sun City the week before the European Tour’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship. The field will also be increased from the current 30 players to 72 players.

“We are very excited about this new era in the Nedbank Golf Challenge, the extension of our partnership with Nedbank and what this means for South African golf as the home of one of the biggest tournaments in world golf,” Graeme Stephens, Sun International’s Chief Executive, said on Tuesday.

In 2016, the Nedbank Golf Challenge will move from its traditional date in December to its new date of finishing on Sunday, November 13, the week before the final tournament on the Race to Dubai.

“The Nedbank Golf Challenge is the longest-running sponsorship in the bank’s history and is deserving of its place as the flagship event on the South African golf calendar. The tournament enables us to inspire local golfers and showcase South Africa and South African golf to the world.

“Through ongoing innovation the tournament has evolved into one of the premier golf tournaments in world golf and we are proud to announce the renewal of our sponsorship. The announcement marks a significant next chapter as we move into perhaps the most exciting time in the history of this event with the Nedbank Golf Challenge now positioned the week before the final tournament on the Race to Dubai,” said Mike Brown, Nedbank Chief Executive.

The field of 72 players will be made up of 64 players from the Race to Dubai, the previous year’s Nedbank Golf Challenge champion, the winner of the Sunshine Tour’s Order of Merit the previous season, and then six tournament invitations drawn from the Official World Golf Rankings.

“This is another major milestone in our very strong relationship with the European Tour and once again positions the Nedbank Golf Challenge and the Sunshine Tour at the forefront of world golf,” said Selwyn Nathan, Executive Director of the Sunshine Tour.

“With the Nedbank Golf Challenge now forming part of the European Tour’s Final Series and us occupying the premier spot the week before the DP World Tour Championship, we believe we will secure an extremely strong field of players.”

Keith Waters, Chief Operating Officer and Director of International Policy for The European Tour, said: “We have enjoyed a superb relationship with the Sunshine Tour for many years and today’s significant announcement is another perfect example of that.

“The addition of such a prestigious tournament as the Nedbank Golf Challenge to our Final Series in 2016 will not only enhance the Series itself, but will also increase the excitement and anticipation of golf fans across the world.

“On behalf of The European Tour, I want to place on record our sincere thanks to sponsors Nedbank, our hosts Sun International and the Sunshine Tour itself, not only for embracing the date switch, but also for supporting the eligibility changes and the field size.

“Today’s announcement would not have been possible without their co-operation on that score, and such vision and commitment to the global game should be applauded.”

Since the inaugural Nedbank Golf Challenge in 1981, Sun City has hosted some of the most iconic players in the history of the game.

“The Nedbank Golf Challenge has grown to become one of golf’s most recognisable events and a tournament the leading players in the world speak of with admiration. We are extremely proud of our association with the Nedbank Golf Challenge and the role we play in showcasing this special event to the world,” said Stephens.

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