European Tour’s best for Volvo Golf Champions


7 January 2014

With a $4-million prize fund and $700 000 set to go to the winner, the 2014 Volvo Golf Champions has drawn 36 of the European Tour’s leading golfers to the Durban Country Club for the tournament from 9 to 12 January. It will be preceded by a Pro- Am on Wednesday, 8 January.

Three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington, the most prolific Major winner in the tournament, after being out on the world-renowned course declared: “The course is in perfect condition.”

After practice rounds on the first two days of the week, the golfers will take part in the Pro-Am on Wednesday alongside alongside Volvo and the tournament’s guests and a host of South African sport stars. Amateurs confirmed include cricketers Kyle Abbot and Daryn Smit; former Proteas’ star Shaun Pollock; Sharks’ rugby players Odwa Ndungane Keegan Daniel and Charl McLeod; Sharks’s CEO and former Springbok captain John Smit; playwright and author John van de Ruit; and SuperSport presenter Matt Pearce.


‘A real privilege’


Pollock commented on Monday: “It is fantastic to have a tournament of this nature in Durban. It will be a real privilege to play alongside the world’s best golfers on a championship course. I know I will be a touch nervous on that first tee as I don’t know my swing as well as my bowling action. I am looking forward to it and hopefully our four ball can put in a decent performance.”

There are 18 nationalities represented on the entry list with South Africa boasting the highest number of players. The seven South African stars include defending champion and winner of the 2010 Open Championship, Louis Oosthuizen, 2011 Masters Champion and recent winner of the Alfred Dunhill Championship Charl Schwartzel, 2012 Champion Branden Grace, Darren Fichardt, Dawie Ven der Walt, Thomas Aiken and six-time European Tour winner Richard Sterne.

Between them, the field has won 227 European Tour titles and, showing the power of home support, of the 31 European Tour events the South African players in the field have won, 18 of the wins have occurred on South African soil.


Most wins


Colin Montgomerie boasts the highest number of European Tour wins, with his 31 titles matching the cumulative tally of the South African players in the field.

Eight-time European Tour Order of Merit winner Montgomerie is also the oldest player in the field at 50 years of age, while Miguel Angel Jimenez, the second oldest player in the field, turned 50 on Sunday.

Four-time European Tour winner Matteo Manassero is the youngest player in the field at 20 years of age, while Tommy Fleetwood is the second youngest at 22 years of age.


Past winners


All three past winners of the Volvo Golf Champions will be in the field: 2011 Champion Paul Casey, 2012 Champion Branden Grace and 2013 Champion Louis Oosthuizen.

Three players who won their final events of 2013 arrive looking to start the year as they left off. Crowd favourite Miguel Angel Jimenez retained his Hong Kong Open title to extend his own record as The European Tour’s oldest winner. Thomas Bjorn boosted his 2014 Ryder Cup campaign by winning the Nedbank Golf Challenge and South Africa’s own Dawie Van der Walt won the final European Tour event of 2013 at The Nelson Mandela Championship presented by ISPS Handa.

Only European Tour players who have won an event on the previous year’s International Schedule and current Tour Members with more than ten European Tour victories qualify for the Championship.

The 2014 player field and the way they qualified:


    • Thomas Aiken, Avantha Masters


    • Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Maybank Malaysian Open


    • Thomas Bjorn, Omega European Masters


    • Paul Casey, Irish Open


    • Jamie Donaldson, Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship


    • Victor Dubuisson, Turkish Airlines Open


    • Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, BMW Masters


    • Darren Fichardt, Africa Open


    • Tommy Fleetwood, Johnnie Walker Championship


    • Stephen Gallacher, Omega Dubai Desert Classic


    • Michael Hoey, M2M Russian Open


    • David Howell, Alfred Dunhill Links Championship


    • Mikko Ilonen, Nordea Masters


    • Raphael Jacquelin, Open de Espana


    • Jin Jeong, Perth International


    • Joost Luiten, Lyoness Open powered by Greenfinity


    • David Lynn, Portugal Masters


    • Matteo Manassero, BMW PGA Championship


    • Louis Oosthuizen, Volvo Golf Champions


    • Morten Orum Madsen, South African Open


    • Julien Quesne, Lindt Italian Open


    • Brett Rumford, Ballantine’s Championship


    • Charl Schwartzel, Alfred Dunhill Championship


    • Marcel Siem, Trophee Hassan II


    • Richard Sterne, Joburg Open


    • Simon Thornton, Open Najeti Hotels and Golf, St Omer


    • Peter Uihlein, Madeira Islands Open


    • Dawie van der Walt, Tshwane Open


  • Chris Wood, Commercialbank Qatar Masters


Past winner of the Volvo Golf Champions


  • Branden Grace


Players with 10 or more official Race to Dubai/European Tour Order of Merit tournament wins


    • Darren Clarke


    • Padraig Harrington


    • Miguel Angel Jimenez


    • Robert Karlsson


    • Colin Montgomerie


    • Jose Maria Olazabal



SAinfo reporter