Review Date: 16 Nov 2011

OLD SCHOOL, CLASS ACTS, BIG MONEY -  by Ursula Brown, Managing Editor, Cape Info SA. 

Eight of the world’s top senior professionals will contest 2011 Nedbank Senior Challenge at Gary Player Country Club, Sun City, South Africa from 1 - 4 Dec 2011
The field for this event, played simultaneously to Nedbank Golf Challenge, features some of the most recognisable and biggest names in golf, and for serious enthusiasts of the game, it is hard to imagine a more intriguing contest.
“When we decided to invite a select field of seniors as an add-on to last year’s tournament, although we were confident that this would be a popular addition to the event, we had no idea just how positive the response would be from the spectators and the sponsors,” says Alastair Roper, Tournament Director of the Nedbank Golf Challenge.

“Last year the Senior 36-hole event was very much a special idea which formed part of our 30th anniversary celebrations, but due to the high levels of interest we made the decision to not only hold the event again, but we have raised the stakes by expanding it to a full 54-hole tournament. Traditionally this is the format employed by senior events internationally. We have put up an attractive purse, and most importantly, secured the participation of a field of the highest quality,” Roper added. 

The winner of last year’s Nedbank Senior Challenge, Jeff Sluman, will be defending his title against Gary Player Country Club specialists Nick Price and David Frost, both of whom have won three NGC titles, as well as the player now considered to be the best senior golfer in the world, Bernhard Langer. Langer is also no stranger to the Gary Player-designed layout, and has won here twice. Making up the star studded field will be former Open champion Mark Calcavecchia (who finished as runner-up to Langer in the 1991 NGC), another past Open champion Tom Lehman, and two-time major winner Mark O’Meara. Completing the octet of over-50 stars will be Ian Woosnam, a former world number one who became the first Welshman to win a major – the 1991 US Masters. The long-hitting professional who has 48 professional wins to his name, was also the first golfer in the world to win $ 1 million in a single event. This was in the 1987 Nedbank Golf Challenge.  
“When we compiled our ‘wish list’ of senior stars, we looked at current Champions Tour form as well as those players who had competed in Sun City in the NedbankGolf Challenge. I am most gratified by the response of these players, and we are extremely proud to offer what must be rated as the best senior field possible,” said Roper.
The 2011 Nedbank Senior Challenge offers a total purse of $880 000, with the 2011 champion earning $250 000. The player finishing in 8th place will take home $70 000. The first prize compares favourably with most of those available on the Champions Tour, and dwarfs most senior champions’ cheques in Europe and other parts of the world.
Pictured here :  Jeff Sluman, winner Nedbank Snr Challenge 2010. 
Photo courtesy : Patrick Allen, National Photographic Editor, Cape Info SA.