The European Tour has further strengthened its association with South Africa following the announcement that the Nedbank Golf Challenge will be co-sanctioned with the Sunshine Tour on The 2014 Race to Dubai.
In an exciting restructuring of the former 12-man event, the Nedbank Golf Challenge, taking place at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City from December 5-8, 2013, will feature one of the largest prize funds in golf and a field boasting 30 of the world’s best players.
The US$6.5 million tournament will count towards The Race to Dubai and Sunshine Tour Order of Merit. The champion will receive a cheque for US$1.25 million, and 30th place will take home US$100,000.
The new selection criteria gives exemption to the leading ten players within the top 30 of both The 2013 Race to Dubai and the 2013 FedEx Cup standings, plus the winners of the 2012 Asian Tour Order of Merit, the 2012 Japan Golf Tour Order of Merit and the 2012 PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit.
There will also be an opportunity to qualify for the tournament, or gain exemption through the SA Open Championship and Alfred Dunhill Championship, which will be played in the weeks preceding the Nedbank Golf Challenge. See below for full eligibility criteria.
“I think with this new structure we have one of the most exciting fields in world golf,” said Alastair Roper, the Tournament Director of the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
“We have provided opportunities for the best in world golf to have their shot at qualifying for Africa’s Major. We’ll also have incredible momentum right up to the week before the Nedbank Golf Challenge, with players battling it out for a place in our field.
“And it’s a credit to our long time sponsor in Nedbank that we are able to increase the field and still offer such an attractive payout in prize money as we did when we were still a 12 man field.
“I have no doubt that we have strengthened the Nedbank Golf Challenge as one of the premier tournaments in world golf and the number one event in its time slot.”
Thulani Sibeko, Group Executive; Marketing, Communications and Corporate Affairs at Nedbank, said: “Since 1981 the Nedbank Golf Challenge has remained at the forefront of world golf and has become an iconic event on the South African sporting calendar. Through the enhancements to Africa’s Major we continue to make world-class golf happen and bring the world’s best golfers to Sun City.”
Keith Waters, European Tour Chief Operating Officer and Director of International Policy, said: “The European Tour has long had an excellent relationship with South Africa and the Sunshine Tour, and this news will further strengthen that bond.
“The Nedbank Golf Challenge is an exciting addition to The European Tour International Schedule and to have such a lucrative purse on offer very early in the 2014 season gives a new dimension to The Race to Dubai.
“We are grateful to the support of Nedbank, Sun International and the Sunshine Tour and look forward to a fantastic tournament in December.”
Selwyn Nathan, Executive Director of the Sunshine Tour, said: “The increased opportunity for our players is a major asset for the Sunshine Tour in terms of inspiring our current stars and also attracting other players to our tour.
“The Sunshine Tour has always prided itself on the fact that it can open doors for a player to compete in some of the biggest tournaments in world golf, and the 2013 Nedbank Golf Challenge will bring about an exciting conclusion to our season.”
SuperSport will once again be the official host broadcaster of the Nedbank Golf Challenge, with the broadcast rights for Africa and the adjacent islands. European Tour Productions, in conjunction with the Sunshine Tour, will carry the broadcast to the rest of the world.
Roper added: “We will continue to ensure that the tournament and sponsors receive worldwide exposure, and that Sun City and, more importantly, South Africa continues to be positioned as a world-class tourist destination.”
2013 NEDBANK GOLF CHALLENGE ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
(a) Defending Champion.
(b) The winner of the 2012 Sunshine Tour Official Order of Merit if not otherwise exempt above.
(c) The leading 10 available players not otherwise exempt in (a) or (b) above from within the top 30 only of the final 2013 Fedex Cup.
(d) The leading 10 available players not otherwise exempt in (a), (b) or (c) above from within the top 30 only of the final 2013 Race to Dubai.
(e) South African players to be selected in order of their position on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) as of Monday 18 November 2013, such that the total number of South African players qualifying through (a) to (d) combined as at the conclusion of the 2013 Race to Dubai is 5* in total.
(f) The winner of the 2012 Asian Tour Order of Merit if not otherwise exempt above.
(g) The winner of the 2012 Japan Golf Tour Order of Merit if not otherwise exempt above.
(h) The winner of the 2012 PGA Tour of Australasia’s Order of Merit if not otherwise exempt above.
(i) The winner of the 2013 South African Open if not otherwise exempt above (A blank entry will be filed for this winner).
(j) The winner of the 2013 Alfred Dunhill Championship if not otherwise exempt above (A blank entry will be filed for this winner).
(k) The balance of the field will be completed as follows:
(i) The player ranked number one on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit as of Monday 25 November 2013, if not otherwise exempt above.
(ii) The player ranked second on the 2013 Sunshine Tour Order of Merit as of Monday 25 November 2013, if not otherwise exempt above.
(iii) Players selected in ranking order from the OWGR as of Monday 18 November 2013.
* After close of entries, should a player in Categories (c) or (d) withdraw, they will be replaced by the next eligible player from within their category, up until 18h00 (local time in Sun City) on Sunday 1 December. Thereafter a withdrawal from these categories will be replaced by the next eligible player from category (k) above. A withdrawal from any other category after close of entries will be replaced by the next eligible player from category (k) above.