Ryder Cup captain Clarke headed to Leopard Creek

European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke will be amongst the star attractions at the 2016 Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek from 1-4 December as the new season of the European Tour tees off in South Africa.

Clarke is confirmed for a tournament that is one of the most unique in world golf for its unrivalled setting on the border of the Kruger National Park.

The 2011 Open Champion and captain of the European team for last September’s Ryder Cup at Hazeltine will tee it up against a strong South African challenge at Leopard Creek.

Leading the local charge is former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, a record four-time winner of the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

Schwartzel is considered a master of Leopard Creek following his victories in 2004, 2012, 2013 and 2015. His 2012 triumph was by a record 12 shots and with a tournament low of 24 under par.

“Coming to Leopard Creek feels like I’m going to my home course. For some reason Leopard Creek always seems to spark something special in my game,” says Schwartzel.

Branden Grace, the 2014 champion and the only player to have won both the Alfred Dunhill Championship and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, will strengthen the South African challenge alongside fellow European Tour winners George Coetzee, Thomas Aiken, Haydn Porteous and Brandon Stone.

The four-time PGA Tour winner Heath Slocum will also be making his debut in the €1.2 million tournament.

The field includes 2006 champion Álvaro Quirós of Spain, fellow Spaniard Pablo Martin who was the first back-to-back winner of the Alfred Dunhill Championship in 2009 and 2010, and former champions Richard Sterne and Garth Mulroy of South Africa.

The Alfred Dunhill Championship has an illustrious history on the European Tour with a list of former world number ones, Major winners and Ryder Cup players having featured in the tournament over the years and including Rory McIlroy, John Daly, Ernie Els, Trevor Immelman, Louis Oosthuizen and Lee Westwood.