Darren Clarke, Ernie Els and Pádraig Harrington have given the 2012 Volvo Golf Champions a major boost by confirming that they, along with 11-time winner on the European Tour, Robert Karlsson, will play in the European Tour’s first-ever true ‘tournament of champions’ event to be held at The Links at Fancourt, from the 19th – 22nd January.
They join a host of stars already confirmed including Major winners Retief Goosen, Paul Lawrie, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel and European Tour stars such as Thomas Björn, Paul Casey, Nicolas Colsaerts, Miguel Ángel Jiménez, Tom Lewis, Matteo Manassero, Colin Montgomerie and Alexander Norén in competing for a €350,000 (Approx. US$500,000) first prize and a prize fund of €2million (Approx. US$2,700,000).
Ernie Els has won 68 professional career titles including three Majors titles and, as well as being a home favourite, is one of golf’s most popular global stars. He won the 2011 South African Open and is hoping the Volvo Golf Champions will see him kick off the year in winning form. He explained, “Obviously, I love playing in South Africa and have won five of my European Tour titles here. I have great memories of playing at the Links at Fancourt, in professional events and when on holiday here, and am looking forward to trying to win the European Tour’s first true ‘tournament of champions’. South African golf is in great shape at the moment which is apparent by the number of South African’s in the field. Dr. Hasso Plattner’s vision in creating The Links at Fancourt will provide the perfect stage to showcase the wonderful golf opportunities offered in South Africa”
Winner of a Volvo S60 in last year’s Volvo Golf Champions Amateur- Pro competition, the popular 2011 Open Champion, Darren Clarke, secured his place at the Volvo Golf Champions by winning the Iberdrola Open in May before going on to become one of the most universally well-received winners of the Open Championship when he won at Royal St Georges in July. He enthused, “I had an amazing year and would never have dreamt I would be teeing off at the Volvo Golf Champions as the reigning Open Champion. It feels pretty special to hear it announced on the first tee I can tell you. Since winning I have done a lot of celebrating an enjoyed every minute but over the short winter break I have been working hard to get my game in shape for the 2012 season. I am looking for a really strong start at the Volvo Golf Champions.”
Three-time Major winner, Pádraig Harrington, is also looking forward to a fresh start in 2012 with a recent return to form boding well for this charismatic man from Dublin. He added, “I took a bit of a break after a pretty gruelling 2011 schedule and, after a relaxing family holiday, I’ve been hard at work getting ready for the 2012 season. I am itching to see if all the work has paid off and looking forward to playing in this new elite event. Towards the end of last year I felt I was regaining my consistency and was feeling ever more comfortable with my game. Hopefully it will all come together at the Volvo Golf Champions as it is certainly a title I would love to add to my C.V. and would enable me to get the season off to a good start.”
Sweden’s Robert Karlsson, winner of the 2010 Dubai World Championship and who finished 4th at the 2011 US Open, qualifies as a member of the elite group of Tour stars including Goosen, Jiménez and Montgomerie, who have more than ten career wins on the European Tour. He explained, “I was consistent last year but I didn’t post any wins which was frustrating and it is a trend I am definitely hoping to change this year. I am delighted to have qualified for this prestigious tournament having finished fifth last year at the inaugural event. I like the innovative format whereby Volvo invite their amateur winners to play with us on one of the tournament days and think it is a great place to start my 2012 campaign.”
The Volvo Golf Champions is an exclusive, limited field event with no halfway cut, open only to European Tour players who have won an event on the previous year’s European Tour International Schedule, the only exception being current Tour Members with more than 10 European Tour victories. An unprecedented gathering of global golfing talent is expected to line up at the world-acclaimed Links at Fancourt, recently voted number one course in the country and originally designed by South African golf legend Gary Player.
For full eligibility criteria and more information please visit www.volvoingolf.com
About Volvo in Golf
In 1988, Volvo changed the face and fortunes of the European Tour and has been a pioneer in golf for many years, successfully using its high-profile events portfolio to position the premium brand and create sustainable business partnerships with clients passionate about the sport. Thanks to effective media exposure, millions around the world have seen the renowned blue brand on the tees, greens and fairways of the world.
Volvo Event Management - Golf is responsible for the in-house planning and management of the global golf sponsorship activity shared by Volvo Car Corporation and Volvo Group. Volvo Event Management - Golf is based in Gothenburg, Sweden and has a representative office in Hong Kong. Volvo Event Management - Golf currently has a portfolio of four events under its auspices.
European Tour events:
Volvo Golf Champions – a champions only tournament
Volvo China Open - the national open golf championship of China
Volvo World Match Play Championship - professional golf’s most enduring match play event
Customer facing events:
Volvo World Golf Challenge - one of the most inclusive global golf series in the world targeted to Volvo’s customers, with its World Final staged in conjunction with the Volvo Golf Champions. Volvo's customers are then offered the golf experience of a lifetime by 'Playing with the Pros' during the professional tournament, a completely unique possibility.
Volvo Event Management - Golf has been headed by its President, Per Ericsson since June 2008 and has a core in-house staff supported by specialist consultants.
About IMGIMG Worldwide is a global sports, entertainment and media business, with nearly 3,000 employees operating in 30 countries around the globe. IMG’s areas of expertise are diverse and wide ranging: IMG College; IMG’s Joint Ventures in China, Brazil and India; IMG Media; IMG Events and Federations; IMG Fashion; IMG Models; IMG Art+Commerce; IMG Clients; IMG Academies; IMG Consulting and IMG Licensing. More information is available at www.imgworld.com. Follow us on twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/IMG_Worldwide and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/IMGWorldwide
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