Ernie Els will make his first appearance in The European Open for 15 years when he lines up at The London Golf Club against a world-class field including Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy.

The South African last played in The European Open in 1994 – the year he also won the first of his three Major Championships with victory in the US Open Championship at Oakmont– and will be aiming to become only the second South African champion after Retief Goosen in 2004.

“It’s been a while since I last played in The European Open so I am very much looking forward playing in Kent and getting my first taste of The London Golf Club,” he said.

Garcia made a bold bid for the trophy last year when he closed with a six-under par 66 but was unable to catch England’s Ross Fisher, who romped to a seven stroke victory.

“I am pleased to be returning to The London Golf Club for the European Open again this year,” said the Spaniard. “At last year’s tournament I played four days of solid golf and just missed out to Ross (Fisher) who played a fantastic weekend of golf.

McIlroy, who turns 20 next week, has emerged as one of the most exciting talents in world golf having made his winning breakthrough with a sensational win in the Dubai Desert Classic in January, a victory which helped him to his current position of fourth in The Race to Dubai.

Where next?

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Equipment review: Odyssey Black Series i 2-Ball putter review
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Competitions: New golf competitions: Win a PowaKaddy Freeway II Lithium