Norman heads SA line-up

 

The world number two Greg Norman heads an impressive line-up for the South African PGA championship starting at Houghton Golf Club tomorrow.

The field also includes defending champion Nick Price and last Sunday's South African Open winner Ernie Els - which means that a southern African tour event will feature three of the world's top four golfers for the first time.

Norman's participation in the European tour co-sanctioned event was secured after a mutual arrangement with his close friend Price.

The Zimbabwean agreed to play in Norman's own tournament - the Greg Norman International which finished in Sydney on Sunday - if he reciprocated by playing in the South African PGA.

Norman comes to Houghton in impressive form, having just won the tournament which bears his name by shooting the lowest 72hole score in the history of The Australian Golf Club. Norman posted a 16-under-par 272 to beat Jose Maria Olazabal by two shots.

World number three Els has begun the year even more successfully than Norman.

After top three finishes in the Johnnie Walker Classic in Thailand and the Heineken Classic in Perth, Els clinched his first victory of the year in the South African Open. Els will be seeking his third South African PGA title, having won in 1992 and 1995.

This year's British Open champion at Royal Birkdale will collect a cheque for £300,000 - the sum the entire field received just 15 years ago. The first prize is up £50,000 on the amount Justin Leonard received at Royal Troon last summer and the total fund goes up by 7.5 per cent to £1.75 million.

Every player who survives the halfway cut is guaranteed at least £5,600, which is more than Lee Trevino's reward for winning the title at the Southport course in 1971.