Trevor Immelman, back-to-back Champion in 2003 and 2004, will join an illustrious field at this years event. Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, defending champion James Kingston, Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke, Jeev Milkha Singh, Rory McIlroy and reigning European Tour Order of Merit Champion Justin Rose have all confirmed that they will compete for the second oldest national Open Championship in golf, which will carry a total minimum prize fund of 1million this year.
Immelman, whose victory at Augusta in April propelled him to 15th on the Official World Golf Rankings said, Ive always ranked my two South African Open wins highly because this is the second oldest Open tournament in the world, and I won it in the Cape, which is where Im from.
He returns having been forced to withdraw from last years Championship having had to undergo surgery to remove a benign tumour from his diaphragm.
His victories in 2003 and 2004 made him only the seventh golfer in the history of the championship to successfully defend his title, and the first since Gary Player in 1976 and 1977. Player is also the only other South African to have won at Augusta.
Immelman will join Ernie Els as a three-time winner of the South African Open Championship should he claim a historic hat-trick at Pearl Valley Golf Estates in December.
To play in front of a big home crowd is a great feeling. Ive been fortunate to receive so much support and good wishes from South Africans since I started playing golf as a five year old. For me to come back and hopefully play some great golf and to give something back to them means a lot to me.
David Spencer, chief executive golf of Leisurecorp, said:
This is fantastic news for the South African Open and for all of Trevors fans in his home country. Were proud that Trevor has made the time out of his heavy commitments in the US to play at Pearl Valley Golf Estates. He will add a huge amount to the tournament.
Trevor has always been a huge supporter of golf in South Africa and has played in the Open on many occasions. Its brilliant that he is back again and this time as a Major-winner.
When we took over Pearl Valley Golf Estates we promised to do everything we could to attract the biggest names to play here and this years South African Open is shaping up to be the best yet.
Tickets to attend the South African Open Championship are available from Computicket. Proceeds from the ticket sales will go the South African Open Championship charity, the Pebbles Project, a winelands based organisation that offers support to children with special educational needs, particularly those whose lives are affected by alcohol in some way.
To find any additional information visit the new website at www.southafricanopen.com