South African Open host Ernie Els expects to have Rory McIlroy in the field for next year's event.
Els, who is also playing in this week's event at Glendower Golf Club, said on the Sunshine Tour website that McIlroy told him he would make the early season trip for 2017.
It's a quid pro quo for the pair of four-time major winners, with Els agreeing to play in the 2015 Irish Open at Royal County Down and McIlroy returning the favor with the '17 South African Open.
“I thought I’ll leave him this year, but definitely next year we’ll get him down here, maybe put him up in Cape Town, have a good New Year down there, and get him to come and play,” Els said.
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“I gave him two years to do his thing, and he’s such a great friend of ours and a great supporter of our charity and stuff like that, and we might not even stop there. We’re looking at some other really great players. It’s coming. It’ll happen. I’m really excited about that.”
The South African Open is the second-oldest national golf championship in the world, and it's co-sanctioned by the European Tour.
McIlroy, who is not playing in this week's Hyundai Tournament of Champions on the PGA Tour, will start his 2016 in two weeks at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.