Price is arguably the top attraction in the field for the biggest Pro-Am on the African subcontinent, played on both the Lost City Golf Club and Gary Player Country Club courses. The Zimbabwean comes into this event as a two-time champion in 1997 and 1998, and feeling very comfortable after a lengthy Christmas break with his family.
I took six weeks off with the family at home in Florida. I had a great Christmas and New Year, playing cricket with the kids on the lawn and so on. I didnt have to pack a suitcase, which was wonderful, Price said.
Id love to win another tournament this year. I might have a good chance in the majors, especially at Troon (Open Championship) and Shinnecock Hills (U.S. Open). I know my game is still good enough to win. But towards the end of last year, I told my wife, Sue, that Im just playing the game for fun now. Ive had my days of traveling the world and pounding balls on the range. I cant do that anymore.
Prices return to Sun City is always a bit of a homecoming for a man who has won three Nedbank Golf Challenge and two Dimension Data Pro-Am titles on these fairways, and where he was once considered the absolute master of the demanding Gary Player Country Club course. But he said on Wednesday that last years Nedbank Golf Challenge may have been his last appearance in this event.
I told tournament organizer Alastair Roper Im not coming back next year, unless the miraculous happens and I start hitting the ball 40 yards further. My notification was coming last (in the 2003 Nedbank Golf Challenge) on my favorite course. I just cant compete with the length of guys like Ernie (Els) anymore. Ive been a huge critic of technology and I just cant get used to guys hitting nine irons into par-5s. There are no par-5s left in this game. The finesse of the game is gone and new equipment has just made a lot of mediocre players look good.
Andrew McLardy, who finished tied for second behind winner Trevor Immelman last year, said he expected both the Gary Player Country Club and Lost City Golf Club course to play far tougher this year. Both are playing longer than usual because the fairways are soft after the rain they had, said McLardy, who comes into this week seeking a turnaround in form following what he described as my worst year ever in 2003.
I had a good start on the Sunshine Tour last year and carried that into the first half of the Nationwide Tour, but nothing happened in the last six months. I doubled up my practice but got worse than ever. Its the hardest thing in the world to get through. McLardy was struggling with a stiff neck on Wednesday. The result, he says, of falling out of a tree at the age of 12.
Immelman will not be back to defend his title. Immelman is playing in this week's Johnnie Walker Classic in Thailand.