The 2018 Race to Dubai continues with the BMW SA Open hosted by the City Ekurhuleni - the first tournament of the calendar year and the second oldest national Open in the world.
1. A perfect Storm. Graeme Storm beat Rory McIlroy in a play-off to win the 2017 BMW SA Open hosted by City of Ekurhuleni just 84 days after he thought he had lost his European Tour card. The Englishman missed a par putt on the 18th green at the Portugal Masters in October to lose his playing privileges by just 100 euros but was handed a reprieve when Patrick Reed opted not to play the Final Series.
The opportunity for a second chance at Glendower Golf Club was all Storm needed, overcoming the four-time Major Champion on the third extra hole after a thrilling closing round.
2.Major home field. Four-time Major winner Ernie Els leads a strong home challenge, which includes double U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen and Masters Tournament winners Charl Schwartzel and Trevor Immelman. 2016 champion Brandon Stone is also in the field, alongside a list of fellow South African European Tour winners that includes Dean Burmester, George Coetzee, Darren Fichardt, Dylan Frittelli, Branden Grace and Haydn Porteous.
3.Back in Johannesburg. Glendower Golf Club was the venue in 1997 - the first time the tournament was co-sanctioned by the European Tour and the Sunshine Tour, and won by Fiji’s Vijay Singh. Since then the Johannesburg venue, which stretches 7,594 yards, has hosted the tournament every year since 2014. English golf architect Charles Hugh Alison was employed in 1935 to plan the course and South African professional golfer A.F. Tomsett was assigned the task of the construction, with the club opening two years later and major upgrades following in the 1980s.
4.Rich history. The SA Open is the second oldest national Open championship - dating back to 1893 when it was played as an exhibition in Port Elizabeth. Only The Open, which started in 1860, is older.
5.The Big Easy. Home favourite Els will be looking to win his national title for the sixth time, the last being in the 2011 season (played in December 2010). Should he win again he would move to fourth in the list of most prolific winners of the event. Gary Player has won the event a record 13 times, Bobby Locke nine and Sid Brews is on eight victories. Els is currently level with George Fotheringham on five victories.