SA Open

Robson to start SA Open

2008-12-17 09:26
SA Open starter Ivor Robson (File)
Paarl - Ivor Robson, the official starter of The Open Championship since 1975, will bring the most recognisable voice in golf to the first tee of the South African Open for the very first time.

The entries have closed on what the organisers are calling the strongest field in South African Open Championship history.

Virtually all of South Africa's top players including defending champion James Kingston and its three Major champions Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Trevor Immelman as well as four current Ryder Cup players.

Henrik Stenson, the hottest golfer on the European Tour right now after his shared victory in the World Cup eight days again and his maiden triumph in the Nedbank Challenge at the weekend, heads the list at the second oldest national Open in the game at the immaculate Jack Nicklaus-designed Pearl Valley course in the wine country near Paarl on December 18.

Other high profile players in the field include two-time SA Open winner Tim Clark, countrymen Rory Sabbatini, David Frost, Charl Schwartzel and Richard Sterne and Britons Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke, Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy.

A total of 35 countries are represented at this year's championship which has drawn entries from as far afield as Iceland who will be represented by Birgir Hafthorsson.

There will also be several golfers hoping to celebrate their new European Tour status with a strong showing at Pearl Valley.

These include South Africa's Branden Grace and Zimbabwean Marc Cayeux, who along with veteran Scot Andrew Coltart, all secured their playing privileges on the 2009 European Tour at the recent qualifying school finals in Spain.

David Spencer, CEO-Golf of Leisurecorp, the SA Open sponsors and owners of the Pearl Valley Golf Estates, said: "With free entry, one of the greatest fields ever seen in the southern hemisphere, and the strongest possible South African challenge means that we are expecting a record crowd.

"Els, Goosen, Rose, Westwood, all the big guns are here and when you throw Sabbatini into the mix, who has incredibly never played in the South African Open before, you have the recipe for a thrilling four days of golf.

"We are also extremely honoured to have Ivor Robson as the official starter of the South African Open for the very first time. Ivor has made the phrase 'On the tee' his own since becoming The European Tour's official starter in 1975 and is the voice of golf.

"It's a real privilege to have him here."
 

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