Expect changes at this year’s Nedbank Golf Challenge, as well as the retiring of a legend!

Changes at GNC. Golf guru Allister Roper (middle) will appear for the very last time at this this year’s tourney, that will now take place in November instead of December. He’s sharing the great moment with Sunshine Tour exec Selwyn Nathan (left) and unidentified guest.

Celebrated for being hosted in December period, it will now take place in November over four days.

This was revealed by the organizers today at the media brief held at Maslow Hotel, Sandton.

This is because Sun City celebrates the inclusion of “Africa’s Major” on The European Tour’s elite Final Series of the Race to Dubai.

And Selwyn Nathan (Sunshine Tour exec) was smiling all the way.

Also, the confirmation that the partnership with Nedbank has been extended to three-years’ also forms part of the sweeping changes.

This year’s purse comes with a hefty price tag of R$7-million, thus making it one of the richest Golfing tournaments globally.

“The tournament has changed dramatically and grown immensely, and we are making everal changes to reflect this at Sun City,” said Dan Sevel, Sun International’s Sports Marketing  Manager who will from 2017 take over as head of the $7-million tournament for Sun International.

“The new initiatives around this year’s Nedbank Golf Challenge, hosted by Gary Player, have been designed with its elevated global status in mind and to create a more holistic experience for the golf fan.

“I think the fans who have been coming to this event for the past several years are going to be blown away by its new look.

“When you look at the tournament itself we’re changing the way the whole event is set up and laid out, and the offerings that we’re putting together.”

The NGC will form part of one of the richest season finales in world golf and will have a premier place the week before The European Tour’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship.

Other big changes to the traditional set-up will entail the flow and fan experience around the ninth and the 18th greens, added catering set-up to reflect the new trends around golf and healthy living, new bar, newly refurbished entertainment centre, following a massive investment of over R800m into the complex.

Nedbank Sponsorship Manager for Golf, Cycling and Running -Kelly Thompson says, as a property with good standing the extension of the partnership after 35 years, shows we’re happy with the RIOs thus far, including our clients and shareholders, she said.

“As part of our strategy we’re also embarking to penetrate five key Africa markets such as Nigeria, Kenya, etc that would entrench  our brand property outside the borders of SA.”

Tournament Director Alastair Roper, who sadly will be handing over the reigns to Sevel after twenty-years’ says: “The way we are setting this up will present a very different view to the golf that people won’t have experienced before at this event.

“The increased field size presents us with a wonderful opportunity to widen the focus across all of the holes, and not just focus on the ninth and 18th holes,” said Roper.

Asked if he will be totally missed from the sport, the gigantic Roper said no.

“I will be involved from development to major events. Its’ in my blood I can’t just throw it away, it will be injustice,” he quipped jokingly.

Described by many as a walking Encyclopaedia, he exclusively told this reporter that:” Since we’re now international, my expertise will be sought both locally and internationally.”

It tee’s off from November 10 to 13 at Gary Player Golf Course. Yes, get used to it…

It has also been confirmed that 72 players (to be confirmed at later stage) will be batting out for the cool R$7-million.

Tickets and detailed programme will be made available soon.

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