More than 35 years after he designed the course on which it is played, Gary Player will be the official host of the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
Dubbed Africa’s Major and hosted by golfing legend Gary Player, the Nedbank Golf Challenge will be played from November 10-13 at the Gary Player Country Club at Sun City in South Africa’s North West Province, and will form the second leg of the lucrative three-part Final Series of The European Tour.
Known as South Africa’s greatest-ever sportsman, Player was only the third golfer after Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen to win all four Major Championships, the career Grand Slam of golf. Only Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have since matched the feat.
“I’m honored to be so closely associated with such an important tournament in my homeland,” said Player. “I’m proud that the Gary Player Country Club continues to provide the challenge for some of the world’s best players to show off their talents, and I’m especially pleased that this will happen in South Africa.”
Since its inception in 1981, the tournament has attracted some of the greatest modern golfers, and its roster of champions includes golf’s best such as Severiano Ballesteros, Nick Price, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Ernie Els and many others.
Selwyn Nathan, Executive Director of the Sunshine Tour, expressed his pleasure about the association of Player’s name with the tournament.
“Gary Player is one the greatest players the game has known, and he brings a special presence to a great tournament,” he said. “He won the career Grand Slam at 29, and he represents the excellence the Sunshine Tour strives to produce from the young players who start their careers on the local circuit.
“His enthusiasm will add immeasurably to a great tournament, and honouring him in this way will continue an association with a tournament he helped to start in 1981,” Nathan added.
Keith Waters, Chief Operating Officer of the European Tour, said: “Gary Player is synonymous with the Nedbank Golf Challenge, so it is fitting that his name is officially attached to the title.
“He brings so much to the event – and to golf in general – and inspires so many players, so we are delighted to have him on board in this official capacity.”
Graeme Stephens, Chief Executive of Sun International, said: “With the Gary Player Country Club as the jewel in Sun International’s golf course crown, we’re thrilled to have the man who designed a course that has consistently been rated one of the best in South Africa even more closely associated with the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
“Gary Player brings a zest for life to anything he does, and we couldn’t be happier to be associated with that enthusiasm.”
Mike Brown, Chief Executive Officer of Nedbank, said: “Gary Player is a fixture at the Nedbank Golf Challenge, and it is entirely appropriate that his name becomes linked with the name of a tournament in which he played a major role in starting.
“He represents excellence in so many fields, and there can be no better fit for Nedbank as title sponsors of the tournament.”