European Tour Starts in Earnest

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European TourColin Montgomerie and Lee Westwood headline the field this week at the South African Airways Open at Erinvale Golf Club in Cape Town, South Africa.
 
Lee WestwoodIt marks the first event in 2004 for the European Tour and sets in motion Montgomerie's quest to extend his remarkable run of 12 consecutuive years with at least one victory on tour.
 
It also affords Westwood a fresh start on the year, a year in which he hopes he can prove to himself and to the rest of the world that he is all the way back from his golfing abyss.
 
Westwood, who missed the cut in six of his first nine starts last year and plummeted to 214th in the world, looks to bolster his confidence even further after two late season victories at the BMW International Open and the dunhill championships in September.
 
Defending champion Trevor Immelman will also be on hand, as he represents the handful of young players being touted as the next generation of great European golfers. Immelman, 24, can only hope to have the kind of start he had last year that saw him notch a win, a tie for sesond and a tie for third in his first three starts.
 
Joining Immelman in South Africa and among the ranks of up-and-comers is Ian Poulter, Justin Rose and Nick Doughtery. Poulter, who finished fifth on the Order of Merit (money list), claimed two titles in 2003 and has hopes of making it onto this year's Ryder Cup squad.
 
Paul Lawrie, the 1999 Open champion, will round out the stellar field in the world's second oldest national championship. Though only on the European's International schedule since 1997, it already boasts a wonderful lists of past champions including Vijay Singh and Ernie Els.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - South African Airways Open
  • Golf Channel Airtimes