SA trio set for Champions event

2012-10-30 15:28

Durban - South African golfers Branden Grace, Retief Goosen and Louis Oosthuizen have confirmed their participation for next year's Volvo Golf Champions, a European Tour event at Durban Country Club.

Tournament organisers announced the strong South African contingent on Tuesday for the 72-hole event in January.

The tournament, which carries a two-million euro prize purse, is a fully sanctioned European Tour event - independent to the local Sunshine Tour - featuring no halfway 36-hole cut.

Head of Volvo Event management Per Ericsson said the course in the heart of Durban was the perfect choice of venue.

“It has a proven track record of hosting big tournaments,” Ericsson said.

Ericsson also confirmed the winner would receive €350 000 (R3.9m).

Of the players invited, only world No 4 Lee Westwood had declined.

"It's well known that Volvo do not pay appearance fees," Ericsson said.

"We feel that the player who walks away from the week with the most money should be the winner."

Grace won the event in January - the first edition to be played in South Africa - at the Links at Fancourt where he beat countrymen Ernie Els and Goosen in a playoff for the title.

The organisers confirmed, however, the tournament would not be played in South Africa again in 2014.

The Champions event invites tournament winners from the 2012 season, in addition to players under the age of 50 who have won 10 times or more on the European Tour in their careers.

Other South Africans exempt for the tournament, who have not yet confirmed their participation, include Jbe' Kruger, Darren Fichardt and Ernie Els.

International players who have already accepted their invitations are Nicolas Colsaerts, Francesco Molinari, Paul Lawrie, Jose Maria Olazabal, Thomas Bjorn, Paul Casey, Peter Hanson and Colin Montgomery.