The European Tour goes back to work next week at the tours version on the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. The Volvo Golf Champions tees off next Thursday at the Durban Country Club in South Africa. The field includes 2013 winners on the European Tour, and past Volvo Champions.
South African, Charl Schwartzel leads a strong field that includes 17 nationalities into Durban for an event that includes 2013 Champion, Louis Oosthuizen, 2012 Champion, Branden Grace, and six-time European Tour winner, Richard Sterne.
Schwartzel said: “I am excited to open my season in front of my home fans and to be competing against such a strong field of champions. It is pretty impressive to have so many South Africans qualifying and with the two past winners also being South African, it is definitely a title I would love to win.”
The Volvo Golf Champions will kick off a month in Africa that will see two appearances by the Worlds number one, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Henrick Stenson. Tiger is scheduled to play at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championships, and The Omega Desert Classic in Dubai at the end of the month. And oh..Phil Mickelson will be in Africa as well!
With the world’s number two, Adam Scott shutting down after the Sony Open next week, he could stand to lose some ground to Henrik Stenson who will be very active during the month against some very strong fields.
With Ryder Cup points on the line, everyone who is anyone on the European Tour will be in Durban next week to get a head start on the standings. The only American in the field is Peter Uihlein who won in Portugal last year.
Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn is your current Race To Dubai leader with Charl Schwartzel, Jamie Donaldson from Wales, Sergio Garcia, and Dane, Morten Orum Madsen rounding out the top five. The number three ranked Henrik Stenson is in sixth position.
This should be an interesting month on the European Tour, and with the return to prominence of Rory McIlroy, we could see a shake up in the World Rankings. With Tiger Woods playing in two African events, and defending his title at Torrey Pines he should keep a lock on the number one position, but Henrik Stenson may well end the month with the number two ranking.
The big missing name on the African swing is four-time major champ, Ernie Els. He will not be making the trip to Africa, stating he will be spending more time with his family.
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