Nedbank Golf Challenge draws marquee names

Gary Player gives guidance to Ernie Els, both major champions, on his putting Nov. 30 at Gary Player Country Club in Sun City, South Africa.

Gary Player gives guidance to Ernie Els, both major champions, on his putting Nov. 30 at Gary Player Country Club in Sun City, South Africa.

SUN CITY, South Africa – Even Ernie Els will take advice from a golf legend.

With two victories on the PGA Tour this year, Els said he feels his game isn’t too far off, but his putting has given him headaches. So he turned to countryman Gary Player ahead of this week’s Nedbank Golf Challenge for some help on his touch.

Els changed putters, too.

“I’m using one I’ve used a lot in my earlier career, so I’m trying to get some good feelings back,” Els said.

If the South African is going to win the 12-man tournament for the fourth time, he’ll need to do it against some of the world’s best players.

Robert Allenby, Tim Clark, Ross Fisher, Retief Goosen, Anders Hansen, Padraig Harrington, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Eduardo Molinari, Louis Oosthuizen, Justin Rose and Lee Westwood are competing in the US$5 million event, which starts Thursday at Gary Player Country Club.

Westwood is making his seventh appearance; he was runner-up to Els in 2000.

“I always enjoy playing in front of the South African galleries, as they’re very passionate about their sport,” Westwood said. He added that he doesn’t stress about fans’ expectations of him, especially now that he’s perched atop the world ranking.

“There’s no pressure really,” he said. “Being No. 1 in the world comes from playing well. That’s why we have worked hard for 17 years – to get to this position.”

Sunshine Tour contributed to this report.

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