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Seniors looking forward to Warburg Cup

With Ian Stanley and Denis Durnian having finished first and second in the European Senior Order of Merit, Gary Player now has his full complement of 12 seniors for the Rest of the World team who will meet Arnold Palmer's Americans in next week's UBS Warburg Cup at the Ocean Course, Kiawah Island.

Stanley and Durnian join an illustrious mix of fellow over-40s including Bernhard Langer, Ian Woosnam, Nick Faldo and Sam Torrance. Meanwhile, to do a bit of name-dropping among the Americans, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Raymond Floyd and Hale Irwin are among those lying in wait.

There is none of the Ryder Cup business of cramming morning and afternoon matches into the first two days. The Seniors will play foursomes on the Friday, fourballs on the Saturday and singles on the Sunday. In what would seem to be the piece de resistance as far as the American public is concerned, Player and Palmer will play each other on that last afternoon.

Torrance, whose captaincy of the European Ryder Cup side has been delayed by a year, does not see the match as any kind of Ryder Cup substitute. "What will stop it from feeling that way is the international element," he said, in a reference to the fact that Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Japan are all represented in the Rest of the World side.

As to the atmosphere at the contest, Torrance has the feeling that it will be at once friendly and competitive. "All professional golfers want to win every time they play, so there's no doubt that we will all be trying our socks off," the Scot said. "There's a lot of history and mutual respect between the two teams but, having said that, I would like to be on a winning side at Kiawah after losing the Ryder Cup there in 1991."

Player and Palmer have indicated that they are looking for good behaviour throughout. Palmer has said he wants the atmosphere to mirror that at Birkdale in 1969 when Jack Nicklaus gave Tony Jacklin a two-footer on the last green. "What Jack did," Palmer said, "may have cost America the match right there. We'll never know but his gesture ensured that things were tied and I think that's the kind of relationship we want for Kiawah."

Player, for his part, has been still more emphatic. "I wasn't very impressed with the way things happened on either side at the last Ryder Cup at Brookline," he warned. "I don't want to see that. I want this Warburg Cup to be played in the spirit of the game, the spirit in which Arnold and I have always played."


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