Friday, June 12, 2009

Karlsson and Stenson's Mission in China

Defending champions Robert Karlsson and Henrik Stenson of Sweden have expressed their desire to return to China to defend their position as World Champions at the 2009 Omega Mission Hills World Cup which will be staged at Mission Hills Golf Club from November 26 – 29.Karlsson, the current holder of the Harry Vardon Trophy as Europe’s Number One in 2008, and Stenson, winner of The Players Championship on the US PGA Tour in May, hope that they can be driven to victory once again by their pride in representing Sweden and by the enduring friendship they forged in winning the 2008 Omega Mission Hills World Cup. They reflected on their World Cup experience in a recent interview. “It was a great week, we had a lot of fun and it was a great experience for Robert and me because we bonded well together for the first time,” said Stenson. “We didn’t really know each other too well before that because Robert is obviously a few years older than me, so coming from different age groups we didn’t really hang out together. It was great to get to know him better during the Ryder Cups and the World Cup and I think the fact that we won showed that we got on great.“ Karlsson added: “When Henrik came out on Tour I didn’t really know who he was. I knew of his ability but I didn’t even know what he looked like at the start. He changed that pretty quickly by winning straight away and, although he then went through a rough patch, he has shown over the past five years that he belongs amongst the world’s best. It was a great experience to partner with him at the World Cup and I hope we can do the same again this year.” The pair produced an unforgettable final round performance last year. Starting the final day four shots off the lead, Stenson and Karlsson were invincible in the foursomes format, producing a stunning nine under par 63 to record a comfortable three-stroke victory over their nearest rivals. Looking ahead to the 2009 Omega Mission Hills World Cup Stenson remarked: “I am really looking forward to going back to defend with him – if both he and I can bring some game back to China there is no reason why we can’t repeat it. I hope the people in Sweden recognise the achievement – it was only the second time that Sweden have won it and I hope we gave some people some pride back home. It is a great achievement for any country to be world champions, no matter what the sport is, and I hope Robert and I can do it all again.” Karlsson added: “The final round 63 was probably the easiest 63 we have ever produced because we hit all the important shots very well and putted great so it was easy in that respect. It could probably have been lower, but it was a great score and turned out to be a special day for us and for Sweden.” ABOUT OMEGA: The prestige watch manufacturer OMEGA was founded in Switzerland in 1848 and since then has continually set the pace in many fields of watchmaking, from sports timekeeping and design awards to watches for professional use in space or underwater. OMEGA is closely associated with a world of achievements including the conquest of space, timekeeping at 23 Olympic Games and numerous precision records as well as the launch in 1999 of the revolutionary Co-Axial calibre, one of the 20th century’s major innovations in mechanical watchmaking designed with the English master watchmaker and inventor George Daniels. OMEGA was Official Timekeeper for the 23rd time at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, to be followed by the Vancouver 2010 and London 2012 Olympic Games. ABOUT MISSION HILLS GOLF CLUB, CHINA: Stretching across the lush, rolling hills of Shenzhen and Dongguan in southern China, Mission Hills is China’s highest rated golf club, and the largest golf club in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records. The property is home to 12 resort and championship courses designed by Jack Nicklaus, Pete Dye, Greg Norman, Nick Faldo, Annika Sorenstam, Ernie Els, Jose Maria Olazabal, Vijay Singh, David Leadbetter, David Duval, Jumbo Ozaki and Zhang Lian Wei. Mission Hills is a full-service luxury resort, featuring four clubhouses, three spas, a five-star hotel, three golf academies (including schools from world-renowned instructors David Leadbetter and Cindy Reid), 51 tennis courts with a professional tennis academy, and numerous fine dining establishments serving cuisine from around the world. It has hosted more than 50 international tournaments, including the 1995 World Cup of Golf and the Tiger Woods China Challenge in 2001. In 2007, Mission Hills began its role as host of 12 editions of the Omega Mission Hills World Cup. Its Olazabal Course, proud venue of the OMEGA Mission Hills World Cup, is consistently ranked by various international media outlets among the best courses on the continent. ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL GOLF ASSOCIATION: Established by Canadian industrialist John Jay Hopkins in 1953, the International Golf Association’s mission is the pursuit of ’international goodwill through golf’. As owner of the World Cup name, the IGA has sanctioned the world's most prestigious international team golf competition for more than 50 years. The IGA is governed by its Board of Directors, which includes Chairman Jonathan S. Linen (past Vice-Chairman, American Express), Deane R. Beman (former PGA TOUR Commissioner), J. B. McCoy (past CEO, Bank One Corporation), Bill Souders (former Executive Vice-President and Director, Xerox Corporation) and Tim Finchem (current PGA TOUR commissioner). ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF PGA TOURS: The International Federation of PGA Tours, formed in 1996, was created to enhance the competitive structure of professional golf worldwide while preserving the traditions and strengths of the six member Tours. The member Tours are the Asian Tour, European Tour, Japan Golf Tour, PGA TOUR, PGA Tour of Australasia and the Sunshine Tour. The Canadian Tour and the Tour de las Americas are Associate Members of the Federation. At the time of its founding, three major initiatives were outlined: the formation of the International Federation of PGA Tours; joint sanctioning by the members of the International Federation of PGA Tours of significant competitions for the game's top players; and a structure for a generally accepted worldwide ranking system.

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