By Michael Vlismas
Els was amongst the four sponsor’s invites for the 3-6 December tournament at the Gary Player Country Club.
“We are very sorry to hear of Ernie’s injury and he will naturally be missed at the Nedbank Golf Challenge because he has been such an integral part of this event for so many years,” said Alastair Roper, Sun International’s Tournament Director.
“But at the same time, I’m delighted that we can include Charl Schwartzel in our field. He joins a great list of young South African golfers challenging for their first Nedbank Golf Challenge title this year. And I’m pleased that we could include another Major champion in our field.”
Schwartzel joins compatriots Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace, Thomas Aiken and Jaco van Zyl as the full contingent of South Africans in this year’s Nedbank Golf Challenge.
The winner of three successive Sunshine Tour Order of Merit titles in 2005, 2006 and 2007 heads to Sun City hoping to improve on his best of second in the 2012 Nedbank Golf Challenge.
This season, Schwartzel lost a playoff for the South African Open, finished seventh in the US Open, and had solid finishes of tied ninth in the WGC-Cadillac Match Play and tied third in the Wyndham Championship on the PGA Tour.
Roper also confirmed that Scotland’s Russell Knox is the 29th player in this year’s Nedbank Golf Challenge field, bringing yet another PGA Tour winner this season to Sun City.
Knox broke through with his maiden PGA Tour victory in the WGC-HSBC Champions in November, becoming the first Scot to win a World Golf Championship tournament.
Knox heads to Sun City as currently the top-ranked player on the PGA Tour’s FedExCup standings after losing a playoff to Graeme McDowell for the OHL Classic in Mexico.
The final place in “Africa’s Major” will be taken by the winner of the Alfred Dunhill Championship next week.