The Volvo Golf Champions, The European Tour’s elite ‘Tournament of Champions’, today announced an increase in the prize fund of more than 50 per cent to USD 4 million ( approximately USD 2.6 million in 2013), reinforcing the Championship’s position as one of the most prestigious tournaments on The European Tour International Schedule.
Defending champion Louis Oosthuizen confirmed his participation at the Durban Country Club from January 9-12, 2014, with many more Champions of The European Tour to be added over the coming weeks.
The elite group of players will battle it out for their share of the USD 4 million prize fund at the start of the season when so many players are looking to secure their entry into the other big events such as The Masters and stake their claim to a place on the 2014 European Ryder Cup team.
The increased prize fund means the winner will receive a cheque for USD 700,000 with every last player in the field richly rewarded for qualifying for this prestigious tournament and receiving a welcome boost to their standing on The Race to Dubai Rankings. As a result the Volvo Golf Champions prize fund is one of the top few on the European Tour, excluding WGC events and Majors.
Oosthuizen, confirmed to defend his title, said: “It is fantastic for South Africa to get to host the European Tour’s ‘Tournament of Champions’ again. It is an impressive boost to the prize fund and I am delighted to be defending my title at the Durban Country Club – I love the course and enjoy the advantage of playing in front of my home crowd. I look forward to opening my season there very much.”
Only European Tour players who have won an event on the previous year’s International Schedule and current Tour Members with more than ten European Tour victories qualify and Tournament organisers IMG and Volvo will announce more of these players in the coming weeks once the 2013 season ends and entries open for the 2014 season tournaments.
The Championship is returning for the second consecutive year to the Province of KwaZulu-Natal and to the magnificent Durban Country Club. The Championship is being supported by the Provincial Government’s Department for Economic Develop and Tourism, who began a relationship with the Event in 2013 having understood the tourism and business benefits of hosting the Tournament in the Province.
Per Ericsson, President of Volvo Event Management, said: "We are thrilled to make this announcement underlining the prestige of our Championship and its key position on the European Tour schedule. As this event is a very important sales and marketing platform for the Volvo brand, we will soon be revealing some amazing Hole-in-One prizes which will continue our innovative approach from last year.”
Guy Kinnings, Global Head of Golf, IMG, the tournament’s co-owners, said: “This is a very exciting announcement for the Volvo Golf Champions and it’s clear that players qualifying for the Tournament have a great opportunity to get their season off the a flying start. We have had such good feedback from the players about their experiences in KwaZulu-Natal during the Volvo Golf Champions in January, I know that all the players qualifying will be absolutely delighted by this announcement and is yet more evidence of Volvo’s tremendous support of the European Tour.”
George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “Volvo have been a loyal and generous sponsor of The European Tour for more 25 years and this substantially increased prize fund is another example of their commitment to both this event and golf in general. The Volvo Golf Champions has quickly established itself on the European Tour schedule and we expect another strong field of winners from 2013 to compete in South Africa in January.”
Thomas Björn, Chairman of the European Tour Player Committee and speaking on behalf of the players said: “The players are very grateful to Volvo for all they have contributed to our Tour and I believe that this increase in prize money will make this year opening event a ‘must play’ for those players hoping to qualify for the European Ryder Cup team. The Volvo Golf Champions is a very prestigious event on our schedule and one that everyone wants to qualify for.”
The same week, the World Final of the Volvo World Golf Challenge – Volvo’s global tournament for customers – will be contested in Durban. In what is a genuine ‘money can’t buy’ experience, the top finishers from the World Final get the chance to play together with the stars of The European Tour on the Friday of the Volvo Golf Champions, live on television, in front of a worldwide audience of millions. It’s called ‘Playing with the Pros’ – an opportunity that exists nowhere else in golf.
For more information, please visit www.volvoingolf.com