European Golf Tour
PGA European - Volvo Golf Champions Preview
From The Sports Network

DATES: Thursday, January 19th through Sunday, January 22nd
SITE: The Links at Fancourt, George, South Africa
COURSE ARCHITECT: Gary Player (2000)
PAR: 73
YARDAGE: 7,271
Hole-By-Hole:1 - Par 4 396 Yds10 - Par 4 408 Yds
2 - Par 3 214 Yds11 - Par 3 161 Yds
3 - Par 4 435 Yds12 - Par 4 481 Yds
4 - Par 4 494 Yds13 - Par 5 532 Yds
5 - Par 5 549 Yds14 - Par 4 361 Yds
6 - Par 4 341 Yds15 - Par 4 394 Yds
7 - Par 4 439 Yds16 - Par 5 584 Yds
8 - Par 3 202 Yds17 - Par 3 163 Yds
9 - Par 5 568 Yds18 - Par 5 549 Yds
36 3,638 Yds37 3,633 Yds
Annual:  2nd
Television:  Golf Channel - Thursday/Friday -- 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (et) - taped,
  - Saturday/Sunday -- 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. - taped
Defending Champion:  Paul Casey (Not defending)
Runner-Up:  Peter Hanson, Miguel Angel Jimenez
Tournament Record:  268 (Paul Casey, 2011)
54-Hole Record:  200 (Paul Casey, Peter Hanson, 2011)
36-Hole Record:  133 (R. Jacquelin, E. Molinari, P. Hanson, M.A. Jimenez, 2011)
18-Hole Record:  63 (Soren Kjeldsen, Richard Finch, 2011 - The Royal Golf Club)
Total Purse:  $2,546,507
Shares:  1st Place - $445,638; 2nd Place - $286,482; 3rd Place - $165,540
2011 Finish
Paul Casey268Johan Edfors272
Peter Hanson269Seung-yul Noh272
Miguel Angel Jimenez269Five players at274
Stephen Gallacher270
Robert Karlsson271
Past Volvo Golf Champions Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
2011Paul Casey (268) -- Peter Hanson, Miguel Angel Jimenez

Top Contenders in the Field
Miguel A. JimenezT-2
Robert Karlsson5th
Darren ClarkeT-8
Matteo ManasseroT-13
Thomas BjornT-44
Padraig Harrington58th
Colin MontgomerieT-59
Simon Dysonmc
G. Fdez-Castanomc
Ernie Els---
Retief Goosen---
Branden Grace---
Louis Oosthuizen---
Charl Schwartzel---
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Louis Oosthuizen
Darkhorse - Garth Mulroy
Last Week's Pick to Win (Charl Schwartzel) - Missed the cut
Last Week's Darkhorse (Craig Lee) - Finished tied for 17th
The European Tour concludes its stay in South Africa this week with the Volvo Golf Champions in George. This is the third straight event in South Africa to start the 2012 season. Louis Oosthuizen captured the Africa Open and Branden Grace won the Joburg Open. Eight of the top-50 players in the world are scheduled to compete - 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, 2010 British Open champion Oosthuizen (27), Robert Karlsson (28), Simon Dyson (29), Thomas Bjorn (35), Miguel Angel Jimenez (45), 2011 British Open champion Darren Clarke (49) and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (50). Former major champions and native South Africans Retief Goosen and Ernie Els are also in the field.

This event features an exclusive field of 35 proven winners. It is reserved for European Tour players who won a tournament on the 2011 European Tour schedule and the winners from the first two events of 2012. Current tour members under the age of 50 with more than 10 victories are also invited.

This tournament will be played on the Links at Fancourt, which was designed by South African legend Gary Player and opened in 2000. Fancourt hosted the 2006 South African Open Championship, won by Goosen. It also was the scene of the only tie in Presidents Cup history in 2003.

Volvo is the most prolific sponsor in European Tour history. This tournament marks the ninth different Volvo sponsored event since 1972 and 26th consecutive year of Volvo sponsorship on the European Tour.

Last year, Paul Casey parred the final hole to capture the inaugural tournament by one stroke over Peter Hanson and Jimenez. Casey and Hanson, the final pairing of the day and co-leaders entering the final day, were neck-and- neck throughout the round and went to the 72nd hole on The Royal Golf Club's Montgomerie Course tied at 20-under. Hanson, though, bogeyed the final hole, giving Casey an opportunity to win. Casey parred the 18th to notch his 11th European Tour victory and first since the 2009 BMW PGA Championship. Casey finished at 20-under 268 for the tournament. Casey will not be on hand to defend his title, as he is out with a dislocated right shoulder sustained from a snowboarding accident.

The European Tour travels to the Gulf next week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in the United Arab Emirates, where Martin Kaymer has won the last two years. Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, Kaymer and Tiger Woods are expected to make their season debuts.

01/17 16:37:02 ET

As of January 17, 2012, at 04:37 PM ET