Retief Goosen has included the Gary Player invitational, which is to played at Fancourt as one of only two tournaments he will play in South Africa this summer, and he joins an illustrious field of present and past champions in this pro-celebrity charity tournament.
The double US Open champion has added his name to a field, which at this early stage has confirmed entries from various Sunshine and European Tours, the LPGA Tour and Champions Tour stars as well as a mix of local and international celebrities.
Rodger Davis, a seven-time winner on the European Tour who finished second in the 1987 Open Championship and was ranked in the top ten, during his career, joins Ronan Rafferty, Peter Mitchell, Costantino Rocca and John Bland amongst the senior campaigners at The Links at Fancourt from November 27-30.
LPGA Tour stars Sally Little, Swede Carin Koch and up-and-coming Russian star, Maria Verchenova represent the legends of the women’s game.
Little is a winner of 15 titles including two Major Championships, while Koch – a member of four Solheim Cup matches – counts four victories to her name. The 22-year-old Verchenova from Moscow was the 2004 and 2006 Russian Ladies Amateur champion before she qualified for the Ladies European Tour at the end of 2006.
Amongst the celebrities, football legends Kenny Dalglish and Lucas Radebe and super model and actress Ines Sastre have confirmed their presence in a tournament that is the final event on this year’s Gary Player Invitational series. The series has already travelled to the United Kingdom, United States and China this year in the quest to raise funds for underprivileged children.
“It is an honour and a pleasure to have been invited to the Gary Player Invitational in South Africa,” said Scottish football legend Dalglish.
“Gary has been an inspiration to many South Africans trying to make their way in life, in either sport or business. I have taken part in a few previous events and coming to one the great courses in the world, The Links at Fancourt, is going to be truly memorable and beneficial to children less fortunate than ourselves.
“It truly is the taking part that counts not the winning.” The Gary Player Invitational has raised over R100-million through The Player Foundation for underprivileged children in all corners of the globe. This year’s causes include education, HIV-stricken communities, and childhood obesity.
Gary Player said from his stud farm in Colesberg, South Africa, “This is a very special year for The Player Foundation as we celebrate our 25th anniversary, so we’re delighted to have an impressive list of professional golfers and celebrities join us for the grand finale of the 2008 series of four events.
“We’ve taken the GPI to four countries around the world this year, and I couldn’t imagine a better place to stage our final event than Fancourt.” Goosen, Aiken and Sandys all come into this event with recent victories under their belts. The” Goose”, who will also be playing in the South African Open in December, ended a 21-month win drought with his victory in the Johor Open on the Asian Tour recently. And the South African has fond memories of The Links layout, having beaten Ernie Els coming down the stretch to win the South African Airways Open here in 2005.
“I am looking forward to the Gary Player Invitational,” said Goosen. “For one it is at home for us and for another, the organisers have managed to find a way to gear the tournament around charity and having a good time.
“The competition is really a by-product of that. I really enjoy the atmosphere and I think it is wonderful opportunity for us to raise funds for the children who need our support and commitment.”