Epic tour heading southward : GOLF

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The Independent Online

The European Tour, having already visited Dubai and the Philippines this season, makes another marathon journey this week. Darren Clarke, Mark James and Andrew Coltart are among the players prepared to take on an 11,000-mile trip to compete in the Lexington South African PGA championship, which begins today at the Wanderers club in Johannesburg.

The event is being co-sanctioned by the PGA of South Africa and the PGA European Tour, with the 142 places in the field being split between the two. "It is no secret that we have been working towards the staging of a co-sanctioned tournament for some time," Brent Chalmers, the executive director of the PGA of South Africa, said.

Ryder Cup points are on offer, but there is the distinct possibility that the championship will be dominated by players with no interest in September's match. The US Open champion, Ernie Els, and his fellow South Africans David Frost and Retief Goosen start as favourites along with the Fijian Vijay Singh, already a winner on the United States tour this year.