Els has already confirmed that he will play in the inaugural Tour Championship at the Leopard Creek Country Club from February 22-25. The double U.S. Open champion will return to the PGA Tour immediately afterwards in preparation for the Masters, the first major of the year.
The fairways of Leopard Creek will also be the stage upon which McNulty will wrap up a record eighth Order of Merit title on the local tour. This season, the dapper Zimbabwean confirmed his status as the most prolific winner of tournaments in Southern Africa.
During the summer section of the tour, McNulty began his dominance by claiming his third Zimbabwe Open title at the Royal Harare Golf Club in November. He went on to record a victory in the Nashua Nedtel Cellular Masters at the Wild Coast Sun, and then clinched the Mercedes-Benz SA Open Championship title at the East London Golf Club two weeks later.
McNulty's ownership of the Order of Merit title is assured, having amassed over 1.5-million Rand in five events. He is a staggering 1-million Rand clear of second-placed Roger Wessels on the money list.
The battle for second place, and with that a place in The Open Championship field at Royal Lytham this year, is a much more closely contested one. Roger Wessels is currently second, but only about 60,000 clear of third-placed Trevor Immelman, who leads this season's Rookie of the Year race.
Retief Goosen is fourth on the Order of Merit, but is not playing at Leopard Creek, opening the challenge for fifth-placed Bradford Vaughan for a top three finish on the money list. Vaughan is less than 90,000 behind Immelman, with a first prize of 315,000 Rand on offer at Leopard Creek. The incentive for a top-three finish is also lucrative, promising a place in the highly regarded American Express World Golf Championship.
The Tour Championship wraps up the 2000/2001 Sunshine Tour season with a championship exclusive to the top available professionals on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit, as well as the three leading amateurs in South Africa.
Invitations have been extended to Richard Sterne, Dean Lambert and Jaco van der Merwe. The full field size of 75 will be announced after the conclusion of this week's Investec Royal Swazi Sun Open.
The course at the Leopard Creek Country Club is in magnificent condition, promising exciting golf over the four days of the championship.