Ockie Strydom will make his Nedbank Golf Challenge debut as the first South African confirmed for the 2023 edition of ‘Africa’s Major’ and takes his place in a field that already includes defending champion Tommy Fleetwood and Major champions Justin Rose and Justin Thomas.
Strydom qualified for the November 9-12 showpiece at the Gary Player Country Club after winning the 2022/23 Sunshine Tour Order of Merit delivered by The Courier Guy in what was a groundbreaking season in his career.
He joins the exclusive 64-man field chasing the US$6,000,000 prize money as well as the increased number of Race to Dubai Ranking Points and a possible place in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship.
“The Nedbank Golf Challenge is a tournament every South African professional grew up watching and wanting to compete in one day. It’s one of those iconic sports events that has witnessed incredible moments in golf over the years, and to be able to make my debut and be a part of this is another very special moment in my career,” said Strydom.
Tournament Host Gary Player said he looked forward to welcoming Strydom onto the first tee at the Gary Player Country Club.
“The Nedbank Golf Challenge has always had an aspirational effect on South African golf. Generations of young South African golfers have grown up watching this tournament and dreamt of playing in it one day. They’ve seen all of our great South African golfers progress from the Sunshine Tour to international success, and the reward of then securing a place in this exclusive field. That will always be one of the great legacies of ‘Africa’s Major’ – its ability to inspire greatness. In my own career, I realised full well the power of having a target to aim for and a goal to achieve. Ockie has now realised this dream for himself, thanks to the opportunities provided by our Sunshine Tour and the strong alliance with the DP World Tour.”
Strydom secured his place at Sun City thanks to a remarkable 2022/23 season in which he won twice in the space of three months on the DP World Tour in the Alfred Dunhill Championship and Singapore Classic.
“There was a time when I wondered whether I would ever win on the DP World Tour, and then to win twice in three months was incredible for me. It’s given me the self-belief to know I belong out here and that I can compete against the top players in the world. I can’t wait to test myself against a very strong field and in front of the South African fans,” said Strydom.
The Nedbank Golf Challenge has been a highlight of the South African sporting calendar since its first edition in 1981, with defending champion Tommy Fleetwood among a glittering list of winners including South African golf icon Ernie Els – a three-time winner of the event – the legendary Seve Ballesteros, and Major champions Bernhard Langer, Ian Woosnam, Sir Nick Faldo, Retief Goosen, Trevor Immelman and Danny Willett.
The 2023 Nedbank Golf Challenge will once again be included on the DP World Tour schedule in partnership with Nedbank and Sun International and will be the penultimate event before the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.