Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Players competing in Mission Hills World Cup

All 18 exempt nations have now been confirmed for the 2009 Omega Mission Hills World Cup to be played at Mission Hills Golf Club, China, from November 26-29. The field, selected through each nation’s leading player on the Official World Golf Ranking as of Monday, June 22, is headed by Sergio Garcia – Number Four on the Official World Golf Ranking at the cut-off date – who will represent his country, Spain, for the first time at Mission Hills. The five-time Ryder Cup player can now select his team-mate to compete over the course designed by his countryman, José Maria Olazábal, provided that the player nominated is inside the top 100 on the World Ranking as of June 22 or the second deadline of August 17. This will be Garcia’s fourth attempt to win the World Cup. He played in 2001, 2004 and 2005, with his best finish coming in his native Spain five years ago when he and Miguel Angel Jiménez finished just one shot behind champions England over another Olazábal-designed course, the Real Club de Golf Sevilla in Seville. Jiménez and Pablo Larrazabal led after three rounds at Mission Hills in 2008 but were overhauled on the final day by Henrik Stenson and Robert Karlsson’s brilliant closing foursomes round of 63 to the Spanish pair’s 70. Garcia is hoping he can drive Spain to victory this year, but knows the competition will be fierce. “There are always a lot of good teams at the World Cup. I think that the Swedish team, the defending champions, will be very good,” said Garcia. “The Americans always seem to bring a good solid team into the tournament. Australia, of course, is going to have a good one coming in. One of the Asian teams could be solid.” “The next time I see José María I’ll probably ask him about the course. I’ve seen a little bit of it on TV and I’ve heard good things about it. I’m looking forward to seeing it. It’s going to be a great test like it’s been every year. I’m just hoping that my partner and I can do well and bring the victory to Spanish soil.” Stenson, one half of the dynamic Swedish duo who secured the Omega Mission Hills World Cup for their country, will defend the trophy at Mission Hills, where he and partner Robert Karlsson recorded a three shot victory. It was Sweden’s second victory in the event, Anders Forsbrand and Per-Ulrik Johansson having captured the trophy for the first time in 1991. Rory McIlroy, who broke into the world’s top 20 this season, has confirmed he will make his debut at Mission Hills and he has selected Ryder Cup player and fellow Northern Irishman, Graeme McDowell, to be his partner under the united Ireland banner. For the third successive year, Ian Poulter will represent England in China, having finished fourth in tandem with Justin Rose in 2007 and sixth with Ross Fisher last year, who will partner Poulter once again this time around.
Rory Sabbatini will fly the flag for South Africa alongside Richard Sterne, Nick Watney will play under the Stars and Stripes of the USA, while Open de France ALSTOM and Barclays Scottish Open winner Martin Kaymer spearheads the German challenge in China. Robert Allenby and Stuart Appleby have accepted the opportunity to represent Australia while the other confirmed nations are Denmark (Søren Kjeldsen), India (Jeev Milkha Singh), Thailand (Thongchai Jaidee), Argentina (Andres Romero), Italy (Francesco Molinari), Japan (Ryuji Imada), France (Thomas Levet), Chinese Taipei (Lin Wen-tang), New Zealand (David Smail) and Korea (Charlie Wi). China qualify automatically as host nations of the World Cup and will be represented by Liang Wen Chong who makes his fourth World Cup appearance. The leading player may select any player of his choosing from the same country provided such player was ranked within the top 100 on the Official World Golf Ranking as of either 22 June 2009 or August 17, 2009. If there was no other available player from that country within the top 100 on the OWGR on either of the dates, the exempt player’s partner shall be the next highest ranked available player from the same country outside of the top 100 as of August 17. If there is no other available player from that country within the top 500 on the OWGR as at August 17, the exempt player may select a professional of his choosing from the same country, without regard to the chosen player’s World Ranking. The deadline for the leading player to select his partner is August 28, 2009. The final field of 28 nations will be completed following three Qualifying Tournaments to be played in Asia (Kuala Lumpur), Europe (Estonia) and South America (Venezuela), with three countries going through from each regional qualifier to join the 18 exempt nations and hosts, China, at Mission Hills.


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