US golfer steps up to the Challenge
The Nedbank Golf Challenge, one of the richest events in South Africa, will again be without one of its regulars, this time Padraig Harrington, when the event tees off at Sun City on Thursday.
Harrington's wife is expecting the couple's second child. From the time the field was originally announced, he had indicated that he would be left with no option but to withdraw if the baby had not arrived at least a week before the tournament started.
His withdrawal follows those of defending champion Jim Furyk due to injury, and two-time winner Sergio Garcia, who cited personal reasons.
Harrington will be replaced by Stewart Cink, the American Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup team member and world number 23.
Tournament director Alastair Roper said: "Just like Furyk and Garcia, Padraig Harrington has been a loyal supporter of this event and we wish him well for this exciting time for him and his family.
"I have no doubt that Padraig will be back at Sun City next year. He has come close to winning in the past, he enjoys the whole atmosphere here and would love to add a Nedbank title to his impressive record.
"We are delighted that Stewart Cink accepted our invitation at such short notice. With Jim Furyk's withdrawal, we did not have an American player in the field, and are pleased that Stewart's presence will restore that interest in the event from American golf fans."
Cink, 34, who will make his second appearance at Sun City after his debut in 2005, had a steady season in 2007. He made it through to the final FedEx Cup playoff event, the Tour Championship, on his home course at East Lake in Atlanta, where he finished tied 11th, placing him 25th on the final money list.