The new status of the Nedbank Golf Challenge, hosted by Gary Player, as a premier Rolex Series tournament on the European Tour will also see Dan Sevel take over the sole leadership of this longstanding tournament on behalf of Sun International.

Sevel takes over from Alastair Roper, who retired in 2016 after 20 years at the helm of “Africa’s Major”.

“When I joined Sun International in 2000, I immediately started on this tournament and worked under Alastair Roper. Without his mentorship I wouldn’t have progressed into this role. He gave me a lot of opportunities for which I am grateful,” said Sevel.

This year the Nedbank Golf Challenge is one of eight elite tournaments with a minimum prize fund of US$7 million forming part of the European Tour’s new Rolex Series, and Sevel said he is looking forward to the new opportunities this brings.

The Nedbank Golf Challenge has been through so many evolutions since it first teed off in 1981 and this is another exciting chapter in the history of this event.

“This is a tournament that has always broken boundaries in golf and has always adapted to the changing environment in the game. The partnership with the European Tour is very exciting and we had very positive feedback regarding last year’s tournament and the change in format from a select invitation tournament to a full European Tour event forming part of the Race to Dubai Final Series.”

With a history in sports sponsorship, event management and hospitality that includes working with key sponsors in the 2010 FIFA World Cup and many other international events, Sevel says the 2017 Nedbank Golf Challenge will feature a heightened focus on sponsor value and spectator experience.

“There is a huge focus on the general public this year in terms of activations and giving the day visitor more to do than just the golf, and for which Sun City is perfectly positioned. So the public area of the tournament will feature a number of new innovations in this regard.

“And from a sponsor point of view we’ve made huge improvements to the hospitality facilities around the course and have new infrastructure particularly around the 18th green as we seek to give even more value to our corporate partners. It’s all part of our general upgrade of the whole look and feel of the event.”

Tobie Badenhorst, Head: Group Sponsorships and Cause Marketing for Nedbank, said they were looking forward to continuing their strong relationship with the tournament under Sevel.

“Dan brings a fresh look to the Nedbank Golf Challenge at a time when its status has been significantly elevated in terms of its new positioning on the Roles Series, and we look forward to growing the tournament with him.

“It’s thanks to the tireless work by Alastair Roper that we have reached this exciting point in the tournament’s history. Alastair was involved from the very start of this event and we have thoroughly enjoyed working with him as he’s brought in several new innovations that have kept the Nedbank Golf Challenge the premier tournament that it is in world golf.”