Race to Dubai leader Danny Willett will join a star-studded lineup at Sun City for the 2016 Nedbank Golf Challenge, hosted by Gary Player from November 10-13.
The 2016 Masters Tournament champion is the latest player to join the field for the penultimate tournament in the Final Series, which also includes his closest Race to Dubai challenger and current Open Champion, Henrik Stenson.
A total of 72 of the world’s best players will contest a US$7-million prize fund at the Gary Player Country Club as the battle to be crowned the European Tour’s number-one player nears its climax.
South Africa’s highest-ranked trio of former Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace and former Masters winner Charl Schwartzel, will also be joined by European Ryder Cup players Rafa Cabrera Bello, Thomas Pieters, Andy Sullivan and Chris Wood.
Willett said: ‘I’m delighted to be returning to Sun City for the Nedbank Golf Challenge. South Africa is a place that has suited me in the past, where I’ve played a lot of good golf.
‘Winning there in 2014 was the start of a great period for me and the Nedbank Golf Challenge is always an enjoyable tournament. A good performance there could be very important as we head to the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.’
Willett emerged as a world-beater in 2015 in a run that was sparked by victory in his first appearance at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in December 2014.
The 29-year-old pushed Rory McIlroy all the way in the 2015 Race to Dubai after also winning the Omega European Masters in August, when he held off fellow Yorkshireman Matt Fitzpatrick in Switzerland. He carried his best form into 2016 to claim the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in February, before enjoying the finest moment of his career with victory at the Masters, producing a gutsy finish at Augusta National to take advantage of Jordan Spieth’s late collapse and become the first Englishman to don the Green Jacket for 20 years.
The Nedbank Golf Challenge became part of the European Tour schedule for the first time in the 2014 season, with Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn taking the title.
The tournament will form part of the Final Series for the first time this season, and is scheduled between the Turkish Airlines Open and the final event in the Race to Dubai, the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.
Other players confirmed for the Nedbank Golf Challenge include rising star Tyrrell Hatton, whose victory in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland helped him rise to fifth place in the current Race to Dubai Rankings, just behind in-form Swede Alex Noren, who has sealed a trio of wins this season at the British Masters supported by Sky Sports following earlier victories at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open and the Omega European Masters.
By Michael Vlismas. Photo credit: Getty Images