Rory hunts elusive african victory
▶ Rory McIlroy’s return to South Africa will be welcomed by fans when he tees up as the major drawcard in the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player.
McIlroy’s rare presence in the 2017 SA Open at Glendower attracted thousands of fans, and Sun City should be no different. McIlroy lost in a memorable playoff to Graeme Storm on that occasion, and the Irishman is still seeking his first victory in Africa, having won on all other continents. The 38th Nedbank Challenge is the penultimate tournament on the Race to Dubai, and again features a 72-man field and prize fund of $7.5 million.
McIlroy, surprisingly, has only once before competed in the NGC, in 2009 as a 20-year-old. He never finished, withdrawing after 36 holes with a stomach virus after rounds of 73 and 76. Victories have dried up for him on the European Tour – his last was the 2016 Irish Open – and he will be keen to finish the year with a flourish at Sun City and Dubai. “I’ve won the Race to Dubai three times and want to give myself every chance of winning it for the fourth time, so the Nedbank is a huge week on my schedule,” he said.
Former NGC champion Sergio Garcia has also confirmed his place, having last played in 2013 when he enjoyed a thrilling last-round duel with Thomas Bjorn. Both Bjorn and Garcia shot 65, with Bjorn winning by two shots. Defending champion Branden Grace has had a quiet year with three top 10s on the PGA and European Tours, the last of those in May. He has fallen to No 46 on the World Ranking and will be hoping that memories of his victory last year will rekindle some good form.
sun city will rock
▶ Sun City has announced ParTee on the Green as their entertainment line-up for fans. It begins at 8am on the Monday and continues through almost every corner of the resort until midnight on the Sunday of the final round. Whether it’s a marimba band at the Cascades Hotel, drumming in The Palace of the Lost City, live music in the Superbowl or the major restaurants and bars, DJs at the Beach Party, or cover bands rocking the hospitality village, the party won’t stop when the last putt drops each day. The hospitality village will be where most of the entertainment is focused. “We are creating a festival of live music and entertainment that will turn Sun City into the place to be, whether you are there for the golf or not,” said Rob Collins, Sun International Group Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer.