The Volvo Golf Champions is a co-sanctioned event between the European and South Africa Tours and it is a local player who is favorite to win first regular tournament on the European Tour. Louis Oosthuizen (pictured) has all the key attributes to play well on the Durban Country Club host course.
The European Tour has become more of a global tour in recent years and visits every continent other than North America. The Spanish Open in April is the first event on mainland Europe and even that event is yet to have a course confirmed.
The form can be difficult to assess in the early weeks of a new season. Before the end of February six events are scheduled that also form part of the Sunshine Tour in South Africa. Identifying potential winners is complicated by the fact that several local players cannot be dismissed.
As we embark on a new season there is no current form to assess. There was a two break over Christmas and this is the only time of the year when there is no competitive action. Some players will be rested while others will continue to practice in order to have a game in decent order when tournament play resumes.
Durban Country Club is one of the finest courses in South Africa and has hosted the national open 17 times. At less than 7000 yards the course is very short by modern standards and that puts a premium on accuracy over distance.
The course is tree lined and the fairways are narrow, at 10 meters in width at some of the landing areas. The greens are undulating and fast so hitting them in the correct number of shots is key. The nature of the greens means players must be adept putters in order to contend.
There are several players in the field who score highly for driving accuracy and greens in regulation. Several others figure prominently for one of the accuracy disciplines and putting. However, only Louis Oosthuizen finished in the top 50 for the three key skills last year so he is a worthy favorite.