Matteo Manassero, a three time winner on the European Tour at only 19 years old, Miguel Ángel Jiménez who last month won the Hong Kong Open to become the oldest winner on the European Tour at aged 48 and Darren Clarke, a first time Major winner aged 42, and Jeev Milkha Singh, the first Indian player to win his European Tour card, are the latest players to commit to the Volvo Golf Champions, taking place at the Durban Country Club from the 10th to the 13th January 2013.
When 19-year-old Manassero won the Singapore Open in October, golf fans would have been forgiven for suspecting that the game of golf was becoming all about the young generation of golfers but for the fact the very next week, the cigar- loving Spaniard, Jiménez, firmly proved this not to be the case winning the Hong Kong Open. He was the oldest winner on the European Tour by 184 days and even more remarkably, the victory was JiménezÂ 19th on The European Tour, an astounding 12 of which he has won since turning 40.
At the other end of the spectrum to Jiménez is the young Italian sensation Manassero, who has been breaking records at every turn in his young career. Manassero was the youngest winner of the Amateur Championship in 2009, the youngest winner of the Silver Medal awarded to the leading amateur in The Open Championship at Turnberry and he broke another record in April 2010, when he became the youngest player to make the cut at the Masters.
At 17, Manaserro he became the youngest winner in European Tour history when he captured the 2010 Castello Masters and was subsequently named Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year for 2010. He added his second title in 2011 at the Maybank Malaysian Open and won the 2012 Singapore Open after eagling the third play-off hole from 15 feet to deny 2010 Open Champion, Louis Oosthuizen his third win of the season.
Manassero said, ÂI am really looking forward to starting 2013 in Durban at the Volvo Golf Champions. I had a fantastic end to my season after having had quite a difficult summer so I want to keep this form going into 2013. Although I am really excited about Christmas and having a bit of a rest, I am already looking forward to playing against a field of European Tour champions in such a beautiful venue in the South African sunshine.Â
Darren Clarke, who qualifies along with Colin Montgomerie, José María Olazábal and Thomas Björn as current Tour Members with more than ten European Tour victories, will be hoping to reignite the form that saw him claim his first, long-awaited Major victory at the 140th Open Championship at Royal St George’s in Kent by three shots from Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson.
Five 2012 European Ryder Cup stars, Nicolas Colsaerts, Paul Casey, Peter Hanson, Paul Lawrie and Francesco Molinari have confirmed their participation along with 2012 Scottish Open Champion, Singh, a four time winner on the European Tour including the 2006 Volvo China Open and Volvo Masters, and home challengers Oosthuizen, Branden Grace and, subject to a successful return from injury, Retief Goosen.
The Durban Country Club is a renowned Championship course with an impressive résumé having hosted the South African Open on no less than 17 occasions. It enjoys beautiful vistas overlooking the Indian Ocean and is considered one of the most unique and challenging courses in the world. It was recently voted one of the Top 100 golf courses in the World by Golf Magazine USA and is undoubtedly a shot makerÂs course that players will have to think their way around during the Volvo Golf Champions.
The KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government has over 70 golf courses in the region which flourish in this beautiful garden province of South Africa.