European Tour starts 2009 in South Africa

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European TourJOHANNESBURG, South Africa ' The 2009 golf season started two months ago when the European Tour kicked off its new campaign in China at the HSBC Champions Tournament.
 
Moving into the '09 calendar year, the circuit returns from a two-week break for this week's Joburg Open. Leading the way will be the hottest player in golf, Richard Sterne, who won the last two European Tour events before the holiday break, both held in South Africa.
 
Sterne defeated Johan Edfors and Robert Rock at the Alfred Dunhill Championship and Gareth Maybin in a playoff at the South African Open Championship.
 
Not just one of the favorites entering this tournament, Sterne is also the defending champion. Last year, the 27-year-old South African defeated Garth Mulroy and Magnus A. Carlsson in a playoff.
 
The Golf Channel will have coverage of all four rounds.
 
Next week, the European Tour heads to the United Arab Emirates for the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, where Germany's Martin Kaymer captured last year's event.
 
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