Tournament host Henrik Stenson of Sweden will face arguably his toughest opponent to date when he takes on European Number One Martin Kaymer of Germany at the Princess Charity Challenge, on July 4, 2011.
Having defeated Australian Adam Scott in 2009 and Denmark’s Søren Kjeldsen last year Stenson, who named the tournament after his daughter Lisa, boasts a 100 per cent record in the Charity Challenge, which will be played the day after The Princess by Schüco at its new venue, PGA of Sweden National in Bara, Sweden.
The Charity Challenge was created to raise funds for the Henrik Stenson Foundation, which aims to support and encourage children to reach their full potential through playing sport.
Both men earned their European Tour cards through the Challenge Tour, with Stenson topping the Rankings in 2000 courtesy of three victories and Kaymer finishing in fourth position after just eight appearances thanks largely to his victory on his debut at the Vodafone Challenge, held in his home town of Düsseldorf.
Reigning US PGA Champion Kaymer, who won The 2010 Race to Dubai and recently took his tally of European Tour titles to nine with his victory at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, is currently behind only England’s Lee Westwood in the Official World Golf Ranking and will present a formidable foe – a fact not lost his stablemate Stenson, himself a six-time European Tour champion.
He said: “Martin is the best player in the world, on current form. He doesn’t have any weaknesses, either in his game or his approach. Personally, that’s exactly what I look for in a Challenge! Martin is not only one of the best golfers in the world, but he’s also a great person and I’m proud to call him a friend. Like me Martin is a product of the Challenge Tour and a testament to the qualities of the Tour.
“There’s no better preparation for the challenges on the main Tour, and all over the world. I host The Princess every year because I feel that it is absolutely vital for Sweden to have a solid Challenge Tour event. Without this stepping stone, the transition from national golf to The European Tour is simply too big for many players to make.”
Kaymer said: “I take a lot of interest in what Henrik’s doing for Swedish Golf, and the development of the next generation. Sweden is still ahead of us in Germany, and I look up to these older guys! Henrik is putting a great effort into both his Foundation and his Challenge Tour event, and so I’m very happy to be able to support these initiatives.
“I learned a great deal on the Challenge Tour, and it was a springboard for the things to come. I am not only taking on Henrik on the course, I will do the same off it! So look out for a similar undertaking in Germany in the near future. I’m both proud and happy to assume the role of role model for young golfers in Germany, and elsewhere for that matter. It’s a responsibility I cherish.
“Few things that young people have access to today teach values and ethics as well as the game of golf. We as golfers respect not only the game, the rules and the course, but more than anything our playing partners. We are our own referees, and the sport is completely clean.”
Alain de Soultrait, Director of the Challenge Tour, said: “It is a privilege that two players of the quality of Henrik and Martin are supporting this tournament, and the Challenge Tour. Both players are fine ambassadors not only for our Tour, but for the game of golf in general. They both share the same vision we do of investing in the future, and the Charity Challenge is the perfect way of showing this.”
Whilst open to people of all ages, the Charity Challenge is targeted primarily at youngsters. As well as the Challenge, there will also be a number of initiatives and workshops organized in conjunction with the tournament’s main partners, energy-efficiency firm Schüco and the Swedish Golf Federation.