GEORGE, SOUTH AFRICA // South Africa has been selected as the venue to host the European Tour's Volvo Golf Champions next year after it was moved out of Bahrain because of the recent civil unrest.
The decision by organisers and sponsors gives South Africa three successive European Tour events in January with the Africa Open, the Joburg Open and the Golf Champions falling on consecutive weekends.
The European Tour announced in August the €2 million (Dh10.23m) event would not return to Bahrain in 2012.
Instead, the Fancourt links course on South Africa's south coast — which staged the 2003 Presidents Cup — will now host from January 19-22.
Paul Casey, the English golfer who won the inaugural Volvo Golf Champions at Bahrain's Royal Golf Club, said that the news will be well received by players.
"I am really looking forward to starting my year there," said Casey. "I am trying to recover from a niggling toe injury and, while I have a few big events coming up where I will be aiming to win again, I am also looking forward to starting 2012 afresh and hoping to enjoy an injury-free year."
Charl Schwartzel, who won the Masters in 2011 said that he is relishing to play in front of his home fans in South Africa.
"I have won four of my seven professional titles in South Africa, so the fans obviously give me a great home advantage, which hopefully will help me in January."
The Desert Swing, the series of tournaments in the Gulf region which the Bahrain event was part of, will follow the South African events, starting with the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on January 26-29.
Then it will move on to Doha for the Qatar Masters the following week. The tour then returns to the UAE for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic on February 9-12.