The 2008 golfing calendar is nearing its end and what better way to celebrate the year in golf than the Nedbank Golf Challenge in sunny South Africa.
The 2008 Nedbank Golf Challenge takes place from the Dec. 4-7 at the Gary Player Country Club at Sun City.
The stroke play event has prize money of $4.8 million (around R47-million) with the winner taking $1.2 million. Not bad to supplement your Christmas shopping.
The Gary Player Country Club is located about two hours' drive from Oliver Thambo International Airport in Johannesburg.
This event has has attracted the elite golfers from across the world, and no wonder. It seems more like a holiday than work for these golfers.
The Nedbank Golf Challenge has a very different feel and atmosphere to other competitions. It is one of relaxation and family time, but that doesn’t affect the sublime golf being played in the past few years.
Golfers and fans flock to Sun City each year to partake in this spectacular event. The resort has four hotels, two international-standard 18-hole golf courses and a water them park, The Valley of Waves.
Be warned, the Lost City Golf Course is noted for the 38 real crocodiles in the water feature of the 13th hole, so don’t go fishing for your lost balls, or it might cost you an arm and a leg.
The 2008 12-man field:
Sergio Garcia (2nd World Ranking)
The past year has been the year that might have been for Sergio Garcia, who put himself in positions to win a number of significant titles with sublime ball-striking, only to be failed by the putter at the final few hurdles. It is surely only a matter of time before the Spaniard converts in a big way.
The explosive star returns to Sun City in a bid to win his third Nedbank Golf Challenge title, and his current form suggests that he might well pull off the victory.
Robert Karlsson (6th World Ranking)
Making his first ever appearance at the Nedbank Golf Challenge, the 39-year-old Swede Robert Karlsson will come to Sun City on the back of his best ever season in Europe, having earned well over €2 million in prize-money and won two prestigious tournaments.
Lee Westwood (8th World Ranking)
England's Lee Westwood returns to compete in the Nedbank Golf Challenge this year for the first time in nearly four years and returns a dramatically improved golfer since when he tied for sixth after a last-round 80 in 2004.
Anthony Kim (9th World Ranking)
The 23-year-old from La Quinta, Calif. has stepped up in a big way this year, showing evidence as to why he's being considered one of the top up-and-coming players. Anthony Kim will be making his debut in this year's Nedbank Golf Challenge.
Henrik Stenson (10th World Ranking)
Unlike a number of Nedbank Golf Challenge participants, Sweden’s Henrik Stenson immediately took to the course and the conditions on his first visit in 2006.
With a second and a fourth place under his belt from the first two visits, he must surely start as one of the favourites to lift the crystal golf ball.
KJ Choi (16th World Ranking)
First-time Sun City visitor KJ Choi is a stocky, 5-foot-8, 84-kg South Korean golfer aptly known as ‘The Tank’ for the way he relentlessly ploughs through golf courses.
Justin Rose (18th World Ranking)
Ironically, the two men who dueled so magnificently for the Nedbank Golf Challenge title last year, good friends Trevor Immelman and Justin Rose, needed 11th-hour call-ups just to get their places in the starting line-up.
In 2008, there has been no such doubt, Immelman getting his invitation as defending champion and Rose getting the opportunity to go one better by virtue of another consistent year in which he consolidated his position among the golf world’s elite.
Kenny Perry (19th World Ranking)
With three wins on the 2008 PGA Tour and a Ryder Cup winner’s medal, Kenny Perry is yet another pro who has proved that, with good planning, a repetitive technique and a strong mind, there’s no such thing as "too old" in golf.
Miguel Angel Jimenez (20th World Ranking)
The amiable Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez will return to Sun City for his third Nedbank Golf Challenge appearance, looking to improve dramatically on his first two visits, when he finished last and second-to-last.
Trevor Immelman (22nd World Ranking)
The defending champion at this year’s Nedbank Golf Challenge returns to Sun City a very different golfer this year; he returns as a major champion.
Rory Sabbatini (28th World Ranking)
I got the feeling when walking around the course in last years event that Rory Sabbatini is one of those personalities that galleries either love, hate, or love to hate.
But no matter where you stand on the issue, one thing is certain: ‘Sabbo’ brings plenty of excitement wherever and whenever he tees it up.
James Kingston (68th World Ranking)
Won the South African Sunshine Tour’s Order of Merit in order to qualify.
James Kingston has been a nearly man of South African golf for more than 15 years and is now looking to leave his mark.
This is a golfing experience for the whole family not to be missed. Pack your swimming costume and sun-cream and have some fun in the sun with the world's best golfers.