The Nedbank Golf Challenge is steeped in history and this year’s tournament at the Gary Player Country Club is bound to add to the numbers.
Nedbank Golf Challenge numbers that stand out:
5 – The number of South Africans who have won the tournament. Fulton Allem (1988), David Frost (1989, 1990, 1992), Ernie Els (1999, 2000, 2002), Retief Goosen (2004) and Trevor Immelman (2007) have all raised the trophy.
6 – The margin of victory for the last two Nedbank Golf Challenges. In 2015 the Australian Marc Leishman ran away with things, finishing six shots ahead of Sweden’s Henrik Stenson. Leishman pulled away from his rivals to win at a canter, on 269, an overall 19 under par. Last year Alex Noren turned a six-shot deficit into a six-shot win over Jeunghun Wang, ending on 274.
6 – Last year Alex Noren became the only golfer to come from as far back as six shots behind heading into the final round to win. Previously, golfers had come from five strokes behind at the start of the final round to win the event. In 1986 Mark McNulty overhauled Lanny Wadkins after being six back at halfway, while Ray Floyd (1982) and Fulton Allem (1988) also triumphed from five back.
9 The number of tournaments that have gone to playoffs, with the winners being Johnny Miller (1981), Ray Floyd (1982), Colin Montgomerie (1996), Nick Price (1998), Ernie Els (2000), Sergio Garcia (2001, 2003), Jim Furyk (2005) and Robert Allenby (2009).
9 – The number of tournaments that have gone to playoffs, with the winners being Johnny Miller (1981), Ray Floyd (1982), Colin Montgomerie (1996), Nick Price (1998), Ernie Els (2000), Sergio Garcia (2001, 2003), Jim Furyk (2005) and Robert Allenby (2009).
14 – Players have won the NGC and also won a Major. The last was in 2014 when Danny Willett triumphed. He went on to win the 2016 Masters. Others who have won ‘Africa’s Major’ and one of the other ‘Big Four’ are Martin Kaymer (2012), Henrik Stenson (2008), Trevor Immelman (2007), Jim Furyk (2005, 2006), Retief Goosen (2004), Sergio Garcia (2001, 2003), Ernie Els (1999, 2000, 2002), Nick Price (1993, 1997, 1998), Corey Pavin (1995), Bernhard Langer (1985, 1991), Seve Ballesteros (1983, 1984), Ray Floyd (1982) and Johnny Miller (1981). 18 No one has appeared more times in the event at Sun City than Ernie Els.
18 – No one has appeared more times in the event at Sun City than Ernie Els.
284 – The highest winning score, four under par, by South Africa’s David Frost, in capturing the event for the second time, in 1990.
1991 – The year John Daly, Ian Woosnam and Steve Elkington stripped off their shirts to sing ‘Wild Thing’ in the bar area, with Daly removed at 2am by two security guards. Hours later he and Woosnam arrived for their tee-off times, but seemed in no mood to stick around. Daly even resorted to hitting some shots with the club in one hand and hardly taking any time to set up his shot. He blamed his performance of six over par on ‘jet lag’.
1994 – The year Nedbank became involved and took over the title sponsor’s role.
500 000 – The rands equivalent of the first prize at the 1981 tournament, then called the Million Dollar Challenge. That first prize was only R30 000 short of Tom Watson’s earnings as the leading money-winner on the entire 1981 PGA Tour.
2 000 000 – The winning prize, in US dollars, received by Ernie Els in 2000 and 2002, and Sergio Garcia in 2001.