This year The Nedbank Golf Challenge will be a special one as it is the 30th edition of Africa’s Major. And what a Major it is, from the first, won by America’s Jonny Miller, to the last won by Aussie’s Robert Allenby, the Nedbank Golf Challenge always produces top quality golf.
Not only is this year the 30th edition of The Nedbank Golf Challenge but the inaugural year of the Nedbank Senior Challenge, a 36-hole event played before the main field on the Thursday and Friday, for those players who are moving on in life. This field will include players such as major champion and former world number 1 Nick Price, 2010 US Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin, first South African winner of the Nedbank Golf Challenge Fulton Allem and three time Nedbank Golf Challenge winner David Frost. The rest of the field includes the likes of Jay Haas, Fred Funk, Tommy Armour and Mark McNulty. It will definitely be a sight to see these old guys try and turn the clock back!
Now to the main event…last year’s NGC was won by Robert Allenby (Aussies first ever winner of the NGC) winning it in a playoff against big-hitting Swede Henrik Stenson. Allenby described the feeling during the playoff with these words, “My sternum was close to piercing my heart…” As much as the NGC is a glamour event for the world’s top golfers, these guys take it seriously still with total prize money of $5million and first place walking away with a staggering $1.25million.
This year’s field is a strong one with five of the top 20 players and ten of the top 30 players in the world gracing Sun City including world number 1 Lee Westwood and a return to the NGC for SA’s favourite golfer and world number 12, the Big Easy. Other top 20 golfers coming to the event consist of world number 17 and Ryder Cup player Edoardo Molinari, SA’s world number 18 Retief Goosen and finally the last top 20 player is Ireland’s Padraig Harrington. Defending champion Robert Allenby will be back to defend his title and hopefully his sternum won’t try to kill him again. Another two South African’s playing will be Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen and Player’s Champion Tim Clark. As always there are a few Englishmen and along with Westwood is South African-born Justin Rose and youngster Ross Fisher. Completing the field is world number 26 Miguel Angel Jimenez and Sunshine Tour Order of Merit winner Anders Hansen.
In terms of the course it is still the long and challenging Gary Player Country Club with no changes to the layout which over the past years has had minor adjustments such as bunkers added and water hazards extended. The key to a good round is playing the par 5’s well, along with the final 3holes which can be compared to Augusta’s Amen Corner
So to the most important part who will win? And it’s a tough one! Every South African wants a SA winner will it be the Big Easy on his return, will Oosthuizen show the same form as The Open or will Clark and Goosen find the form to win? Will Westwood live up to his world number 1 ranking? Or will the defending champion return and win again? Will we see a cigar being smoked down the 18th by Jimenez or will one of the many youngsters pull through for a big pay day?
All will be revealed by 5o’clock CAT on Sunday 5th December 2010. There is one thing that is for sure…its gonna be one hell of a tournament!
Keep it in the swing of things
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