Westwood leads Ryder Cup stars to Sun City

World number two Lee Westwood will lead five of the victorious Europe Ryder Cup team to the Sun City Challenge golf tournament in December.

By (AFP)

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Published: Thu 21 Oct 2010, 8:32 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 5:18 AM

Fellow Englishman Ross Fisher, Irishman Padraig Harrington, Spaniard Miguel Angel Jiminez and Italian Edoardo Molinari are the other members of the team heading for north-west South Africa.

Europe pipped defending champions the United States by one point in a Celtic Manor thriller this month that went to the wire with the final singles match settling an enthralling contest extended to four days by rain.

The Ryder Cup captains, larger-than-life Scot Colin Montgomerie and studious American Corey Pavin, are former Sun City Challenge champions, winning consecutive tournaments in the mid-1990s.

A calf injury that forced 37-year-old Westwood to rest for six weeks before the Ryder Cup has struck again and he plans to return early next month at a Shanghai tournament.

South Africans Tim Clark, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and reigning British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen, Australian Robert Allenby, Dane Anders Hansen and Englishman Justin Rose complete the line-up.

Defending champion Allenby, Els and Goosen are former winners at Sun City, an entertainment resort that also boasts the intimidating 7162-metre Gary Player Country Club course.

Branded the ‘African Major’, the Challenge turns 30 this year and the prize money has soared since American Johnny Miller finished 11 under par to win the inaugural 1981 tournament.

The winner this year receives a record 1.25 million dollars - a sum that can be bettered only by winning a Major or a World Golf Championship event, according to Sun City tournament director Alastair Roper.

“Our aim is to secure the participation of the 12 top-ranked golfers in the world but that is unrealistic,” admitted the man charged with running the South African golf-season highlight.

“World number one Tiger Woods hosts the Chevron World Challenge the same week and this puts us in a difficult position with the lack of top American players in the field unfortunate.

“Former Challenge winner Jim Furyk will be defending his Chevron title and Phil Mickelson has committed to playing in Japan the same week as our tournament,” he said.

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