Tommy Fleetwood ready for Nedbank Golf Challenge
Tommy Fleetwood has confirmed his participation in the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player – the seventh Rolex Series event on the 2019 Race to Dubai – from November 14-17, 2019.
The English Ryder Cup star last teed it up in Sun City during a stellar 2017 season, when a top ten finish proved to be crucial as he went on to top the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex for the first time in his career.
Fleetwood is once again in contention to be crowned European Number One, currently sitting in fourth position in the Rankings, and with increased Race to Dubai points now available in the penultimate event of the season, his next stop in South Africa could once again prove to be pivotal.
The 28-year-old enjoyed another dazzling season in 2018, including a memorable debut in The Ryder Cup, when he and Francesco Molinari became the first European pairing to win all four of their matches, helping Europe to a 17.5-10.5 triumph.
Fleetwood’s rise has continued this season, with the World Number 13 recording four top ten and seven top 20 finishes on the European Tour so far, including second place at The Open – his second runner-up finish in a Major Championship following the 2018 U.S. Open.
Fleetwood, who has competed in the Nedbank Golf Challenge in four of the last five seasons, said: “This will be my fifth appearance at the Nedbank Golf Challenge, and the Gary Player Country Club is a place that I always enjoy coming to.
“I obviously have good memories from the 2017 season, when my performance helped me to secure the Race to Dubai title. I’m in a good position in the Rankings again at the moment, and hopefully I can build on that in South Africa and enjoy another strong end to the season.”
Welcoming Fleetwood’s participation, tournament host Gary Player said: “With Tommy now confirming his participation in the Nedbank Golf Challenge, our field has become even stronger, which was certainly one of our goals for this year. It’s a testament to the hard work of everyone involved with this tournament – the European Tour, Nedbank, Rolex and especially Sun International.
“Tommy is a terrific player in his prime. When the top players in the world show the importance of ‘Africa’s Major’, it brings even more people to Sun City and has a trickle-down effect on the local economy.”
Mike Brown, Chief Executive, Nedbank Group, said: “We are delighted that Tommy Fleetwood will join the field at this year’s Nedbank Golf Challenge. His participation is aligned to our joint efforts to elevate the quality of players competing at 'Africa’s Major' with the increased first prize money and Race to Dubai points on offer being a key attraction. We look forward to hosting one of the most competitive events in the history of the Nedbank Golf Challenge.”
Anthony Leeming, Chief Executive of Sun International, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Tommy Fleetwood back to Sun City where he has always been popular with our fans. It’s going to be wonderful to have Tommy here with us as he makes a strong push for that number one spot on the Race to Dubai, and it will certainly add to the general excitement around this year’s tournament.”
Fleetwood joins a field that includes his fellow Englishman and defending champion Lee Westwood, and South African Major winner Louis Oosthuizen.
Westwood's emotional three-stroke victory over Sergio Garcia in 2018 saw him capture his first Rolex Series title and become the first European golfer to win the Nedbank Golf Challenge three times, following his victories in 2010 and 2011.
This year, in what is also the 40th anniversary of Sun City and the Gary Player Country Club, Westwood will be looking to make history as the first golfer to win the Nedbank Golf Challenge four times, while 2010 Open Champion Oosthuizen will be seeking to win the title for the first time after finishing third last year, four shots behind the European Ryder Cup legend.
The Nedbank Golf Challenge will enhance its status as one of world golf’s elite tournaments this season with an increase in both the first place prize money and Race to Dubai points - the winner of the 2019 Nedbank Golf Challenge will take home US$2.5 million, an increase on the US$1.25 million won by Westwood last year.
The overall prize fund remains at US$7.5 million, with the balance of the 63-player field from second place onwards playing for a US$5 million prize fund.
This year’s tournament also offers an increased haul of Race to Dubai points from 7,500 to 10,000, which places it above what the World Golf Championships tournaments offer.
General access tickets and luxury return shuttles for the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player can be purchased here. If you are looking for an experience, Circa has once again put together hospitality packages for the event, which can be purchased here.