The Gary Player Invitational golf tournament has raised over R25-million for local charities in the past 10 years. This year's beneficiaries will be the KwaZulu-Natal-based Wildlands Conservation Trust and Port Elizabeth-based Wings and Wishes.
The tournament takes place at the Zimbali Country Club from Thursday 22 November to Sunday 25 November and is presented by Coca-Cola South Africa and hosted by nine-time Major winner Gary Player.
It is part of the international Gary Player International series which has raised over R400-million for charities across the globe. The event pairs golf champions with Hollywood celebrities, chart-topping musicians and leading businessmen, to make a difference in the lives of South Africans in need.
Community-based waste-preneurs and tree-preneurs
The Player Foundation and Coca-Cola South Africa have nominated the Wildlands Conservation Trust as a beneficiary for the second consecutive year, to support the NGO's work in recycling plastic and encouraging tree growing through community-based "waste-preneurs" and "tree-preneurs".
The Trust is a non-profit organisation working to uplift local communities by establishing "green jobs" for the poor and unemployed. Its vision is to restore the ecosystems that underwrite the welfare of these communities and that reduce our collective vulnerability to climate change.
It is the first time that the tournament has linked with Wings and Wishes, a charity started in 2006 by staff at the Coca-Cola Sabco bottling company in Port Elizabeth, to collect air-miles to transport critically ill children to the Red Cross Children's Hospital in Cape Town or an alternative appropriate medical facility.
'Another exciting event'
"We are looking forward to another exciting event in KwaZulu-Natal to benefit the Wildlands Conservation Trust and Wings and Wishes," Marc Player, Black Knight International CEO, said in a statement.
"2012 will be our 13th GPI event in South Africa, and the support that it has received over the years has been truly incredible."
All funds raised over the four-day event are to be shared equally between the charities, with the outcome being largely tied to the tournament's annual black-tie auction on Friday, 23 November.
The tournament format has been changed to boost the charity fundraising element by doubling the number of businesspeople participating - the eight four-ball teams consist of a champion or tour professional, a celebrity and two business people.
The Gary Player International participant line-up includes the legend himself, Gary Player. Also competing are former Ryder Cup captains Sam Torrance and Ian Woosnam, the winner of the 1991 US Masters.
Celebrities include soapie star Jack Wagner of the Bold & Beautiful fame, Westlife's Brian McFadden and red-headed supermodel and actress Angie Everhart, whose acting credits include the blockbuster The Last Action Hero, 3rd Rock From the Sun, Law and Order and Keeping Up With The Kardashians.
"As golfers, we are in such a fortunate position to use our talent and craft to relieve the plight of those less fortunate in the world. I am delighted to return to South Africa and support the Gary Player Invitational and the charities it supports," said Woosnam.
The tournament is open to the public on Saturday, 24 November, and Sunday, 25 November.
Tickets are R75 a day and available from Computicket. Entry for children under 18, accompanied by an adult, is free.
The tournament starts at 10:00 on Saturday and at 09:00 on Sunday.