Goosen ready to go head-to-head with Els in SA Open

Retief Goosen will resume his South African Open rivalry with Ernie Els with the news that the double major champion will tee it up at the Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate from 24-27 November.

Goosen has confirmed his participation in the tournament, which is co-sanctioned by the European Tour and Sunshine Tour.

“The South African Open has always been one of my favourite tournaments and I’m delighted to be coming back,” said Goosen.

Goosen first won his national Open in 1995, and then again in 2005. And on both occasions he beat Els to the title.

At Randpark Golf Club in 1995, Goosen beat Els by five strokes. Then in 2005, he birdied the final two holes – including a chip-in on the 17th – at The Links at Fancourt to again win a dramatic final round battle with Els.

“When I won in 1995, I was 26 and it was one of the proudest moments of my career. There is something indescribable about winning your national Open. That second win was just as sweet. It felt great winning again on home soil and having the SA Open trophy in my hands again.”

At Durban Country Club last year, Els had the final say when he beat Goosen in another memorable final round to claim his fifth South African Open title.

Els won following a marathon 36-hole duel with Goosen on the Sunday of a tournament which was affected by rain.

Goosen did his best to finish with four birdies in his final five holes, but it was not enough to stop Els winning by a single stroke.

Els paid tribute to Goosen’s late charge when he said afterwards, “I’ve been playing golf professionally for about 20 years now and I’ve never had a day like this. I knew Retief was going to be my man to beat.”

“Ernie and I have had an interesting rivalry in the South African Open over the years,” said Goosen. “It’s something I’m particularly proud of, that we can produce our best golf against each other in our national Open.”

“It is important for the South African fans as well as the tournament, which is one of the oldest in world golf and one which we as South African professionals are very proud of.”

While his form this season hasn’t been at the level he would like, there is every indication that Goosen’s passion for the South African Open and his rivalry with Els will once again bring out the best in his game.

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