Defending champion Lee Westwood handed over the famous crystal trophy to Gary Player at a glittering Champion’s Dinner of the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City on Tuesday evening.

Hosted in Sun City’s iconic Sun Arena (Superbowl) venue, the Champion’s Dinner brought together a host of former winners of “Africa’s Major” such as Westwood, Ernie Els, Henrik Stenson and Branden Grace, the legendary tournament host Gary Player, and an array of VIPs.

Westwood was able to relive the memories of his 2018 triumph, which was his third in the Nedbank Golf Challenge and which ended a lengthy win drought for the Englishman.

“I was quite emotional after that win because the longer the period goes by where you don’t win tournaments, the more you value how hard winning is and how much it means to perform under pressure,”said Lee Westwood.

Stenson, the winner in 2008 by nine shots, said he was looking forward to possibly ending the season strong at Sun City.

“It’s been a decent season and I haven’t had a lot of fireworks. It will be nice to finish strong with a good performance this week. I’ve got my work cut out for me and I’ll try my hardest. But in South Africa I always feel I get a great welcome. It’s always great to play in front of these fans.”

And for Player, the dinner took him back to that first Nedbank Golf Challenge in 1981 and the phenomenal growth of this tournament since then.

“Originally, we offered the biggest prize money in golf in total. And now is the biggest first-place cheque on the European Tour of US$2.5 million. That’s a lot of money. But none of this can happen without the wonderful sponsors we have.”