Sabbatini confirmed for South African Open
Four-time US PGA Tour winner Rory Sabbatini is the latest star to add his name to the strongest field ever assembled for the South African Open, which now features six of the top South African golfers in the world.
Free entry, one of the greatest ever seen in the southern hemisphere, and an incredibly strong South African challenge, which also includes triple Major champion Ernie Els, reigning Masters champion Trevor Immelman, double US Open champion Retief Goosen, defending SA Open champion James Kingston, and two-time winner Tim Clark means that a record crowd is expected at Pearl Valley Golf Estates from 18-21 December.
In addition to the impressive South African contingent, Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke, Justin Rose, and Henrik Stenson will also tee off at the Jack Nicklaus-designed course in a bid to claim the coveted title of the world’s second oldest Open and a share of the €1 million prize fund.
Sabbatini has represented South Africa in the World Cup four times and won the event with compatriot Immelman in 2003. The Durban-born player, who qualified for the PGA Tour in 1999, has since won four titles there, making his mark during 2007 when he broke into the Top 10 in the World Rankings and was the only South African to win on the PGA Tour that season. He finished last year with ten top-ten finishes, including tied-second in the Masters, and earnings of just under $5-million.
David Spencer, Leisurecorp CEO-Golf, owners of Pearl Valley Golf Estates, said:
“It is incredible for a country such as South Africa to have as many as six players among the very best in the world and even more incredible that they will all be teeing off at Pearl Valley Golf Estates this year. Sabbatini is one of the game’s vibrant characters and his presence will definitely spice things up. He has courted controversy in the past and some regard him as emotional both on and off the course, yet I believe he’s a man with a singular goal who wears his heart on his sleeve and I wouldn’t be surprised if he mounted a considerable challenge at the Majors this season.
“Rory Sabbatini has never played in the SA Open and strangely enough never been a member of the Sunshine Tour …so this will certainly make history.
“The 2008 South African Open is a key tournament on The Race to Dubai, and there could not be a better location for it. The course closed this week to begin the final preparation and is looking spectacular. The location, combined with free entry, a bumper crowd, one of the greatest fields ever seen in the southern hemisphere, means that this year’s tournament will be the best the country has ever hosted.”