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First Warburg Cup starts Friday

The inaugural Warburg Cup, a Ryder Cup-style event featuring some of the best players in golf history, begins Friday at Kiawah Island's Ocean Course.

Captained by Arnold Palmer, the United States hosts the Rest of the World in an event limited to players 40 and older. Each team consists of six players aged 40-49 and six over 50.

Among those playing for the U.S. will be Tom Watson and Raymond Floyd. The Rest of the World team includes captain Gary Player of South Africa and England's Nick Faldo.

The 24 participants have combined for 30 major titles, including 15 from Palmer and Watson. Jack Nicklaus was to bring his 18 major crowns to Kiawah but pulled out Thursday with lower back pain and was replaced by Dana Quigley.

"Well, I had originally really thought that I would pair myself with Jack Nicklaus," Palmer said. "And he heard that and left town."

Sanctioned by the European Senior Tour, the Warburg Cup starts Friday with six foursomes, continues Saturday with six four-ball matches and concludes Sunday with 12 singles.

Each match is worth one point. The first team to compile 12 1/2 wins.

If history is a factor, the Warburg Cup could provide some drama. The Ocean Course hosted the 1991 Ryder Cup, which the U.S. retained when Germany's Bernhard Langer missed a six-foot par putt at the 18th hole in the event's final match.

Langer halved that match with Hale Irwin, who is on a U.S. team that includes Larry Nelson, Mark O'Meara, Curtis Strange, Mark Calcavecchia, Scott Hoch and John Cook.

Langer also is back, joining Ian Woosnam of Wales, Frank Nobilo of New Zealand, Sam Torrance of Scotland, Isao Aoki of Japan, Jose Maria Canizares of Spain and Stewart Ginn of Australia.

A trio of little-known players in the United States -- Denis Durnian of England, Des Smythe of Ireland and Ian Stanley of Australia -- round out the Rest of the World roster.

The draw for Friday's foursomes was held Thursday. Hoch and Cook will face Langer and Nobilo in the first match at 9:35 a.m. EST.

The rest of the matches are Watson and Roberts vs. Canizares and Ginn; Nelson and Strange vs. Torrance and Woosnam; Irwin and Calcavecchia vs. Faldo and Aoki; Palmer and O'Meara vs. Player and Smyth; and Floyd and Quigley vs. Stanley and Durnian.

Every member of the winning team will win $150,000 while each member of the losing squad pockets $100,000.


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