Joburg Open Preview

The European Tour remains in South Africa for one further week with the Joburg Open at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club. Denmark’s Anders Hansen defends the title.

Anders Hansen defends

Lowdown: The European Tour remains in South Africa for one further week with the Joburg Open at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club. Denmark's Anders Hansen defends the title. In 2009, Hansen's victory in this tournament provided a springboard for an excellent season in which he recorded nine top-20 finishes on the European Tour and ended the season 24th on the Order of Merit. The win in Johannesburg also gave Hansen a great start on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit and last December he became the first European since 1972 to top that money list. The Joburg Open is a young event, first contested on the Euroepan Tour in 2007. Ariel Canete, Richard Sterne and Hansen have won the three previous competitions. The Joburg Open is one of only three events on The 2010 European Tour International Schedule to be played over two or more courses - the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and the Barclays Singapore Open being the others. The 206-strong field for this event will play over the East and West Courses at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club.

Venue: Royal Johannesburg and Kensington GC, Johannesburg, South Africa Date: Jan 14 - 17 Course stats: East - par 71, 7,590 yards; West - par 71, 7,119 yards Purse: €1,300,000 Winner: €206,050 Defending Champion: Anders Hansen (-15) TV Coverage: Thursday 14 - Live on Sky Sports 2 from 8am Friday 15 - Live on Sky Sports 2 from 8am Saturday 16 - Live on Sky Sports 4 from 10.30am Sunday 17 - Live on Sky Sports 4 from 10.30am Player Watch: Anders Hansen - The defending champion secured the 2009 Sunshine Tour Order of Merit on the back of victory in this tournament last season. Expect him to feature again. Chris Wood - After a highly successful first full season as a professional, Wood begins his 2010 campaign this week. He'll be looking to start with a flyer. Andrew McLardy - The South African was runner-up to Anders Hansen in this event last season and will be looking to feed off the good memories of that performance this week. Charl Schwartzel - Last week's Africa Open winner is playing some superb golf and there seems no reason why he shouldn't continue in the same vein.

Key hole: 11th East Course - It's a 500 yard par 4 and the length alone makes it a challenge. But the hole also requires a straight tee shot then a precise approach over water. It's a great spectator hole and one where large scores can be racked up.

Skills required: Power hitting. At 7,590 yards, the East Course is one of the longest to feature on the European Tour. Long, straight drivers are at a distinct advantage here.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)... Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?