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Faldo surprise invitation to World Matchplay

Nick Faldo has received a surprise call-up to the field the World Match Play Championship at Wentworth.

The move comes despite the fact that Faldo was in danger of falling out of the world's top 200 earlier this season. The Briton has not won a solo tournament since March 1997.

Winner of the title in 1989 and 1992, 43-year-old Faldo is now back up to 113th in the world, but last played in the tournament in 1994.

Faldo joins a line-up that for the first time in the event's 36-year history contains only one American - and even he has never won on the US Tour.

That man is Bob May, the man beaten by Tiger Woods in a play-off for the US PGA title last month.

There are seven Europeans, including Darren Clarke, who originally stated he would miss the event because his wife Heather is expecting their second child. With the birth due this week, however, he has had a change of mind.

Faldo' recent return to some kind of form has produced an invitation to the Cisco World Matchplay.Allsport.

The others are Faldo, defending champion Colin Montgomerie, current Order of Merit leader Lee Westwood, Dubliner Padraig Harrington, Dane Thomas Bjorn and Spaniard Sergio Garcia.

Completing the line-up are Masters champion and 1997 winner Vijay Singh, world number two and three-time winner Ernie Els, South African Retief Goosen (the player who beat Garcia) and 20-year-old Australian rookie Adam Scott.

Clarke's presence gives him the chance to complete a World Match Play double this year. In February he beat Woods in the final of the Andersen Consulting world championship version involving the game's top 64.

Faldo did not come close to qualifying for that, but is guaranteed 50,000 even if he goes out in the first round next Thursday.

Els, Westwood, Montgomerie and Singh - respectively ranked second, fourth, sixth and ninth in the world - are almost certain to be the four seeds who receive byes into Friday's quarter-finals.

World Match Play Field (in order of world ranking):
Ernie Els (RSA)
Lee Westwood (Eng)
Colin Montgomerie (Sco)
Vijay Singh (Fij)
Darren Clarke (N Ire)
Sergio Garcia (Spa)
Thomas Bjorn (Den)
Bob May (USA)
Padraig Harrington (Ire)
Retief Goosen (RSA)
Nick Faldo (Eng)
Adam Scott (Aus)

 

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