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Wind a big factor at World Cup venue

Ireland's Paul McGinley knows Kiawah Island's Ocean Course better than most and he is expecting the variable weather conditions to be a major factor at this week's World Cup of Golf.

McGinley won the 1997 title for his country with Padraig Harrington at the same venue, although the Pete Dye-designed layout has been considerably softened since then.

"I think the wind is going to be a big factor," said McGinley, who is again partnered by Harrington this week.

"The greens are very, very firm. And, as a lot of people know, they're raised up and that caused a lot of havoc in '91 at the Ryder Cup, with guys pitching on greens and then rolling off greens."

The Ocean Course greens have been completely rebuilt with a more tolerant grass that is better suited to survive the harsh oceanside conditions.

But because the greens are new, they are firm and not as receptive. Coupled with the softer fairways, the course will play a lot longer than its listed 6,804 yards this week.

"For me, it's a severe golf course," said American Jim Furyk, the U.S. Open champion who is playing The Ocean Course for the first time this week.

"I think it takes some rounds to get used to. I think, as the week goes, on we'll get more comfortable with the course, see how it's playing and see how they set it up.

"I've got one more day to get comfortable with the golf course before we go out to the foursome matches.

"There are a lot of blind tee shots. You're hitting over hills, you don't know how much you can cut off and you're going to see a lot of different wind conditions.

"Between (Tuesday) and today, it played different because the wind was opposite. It's a tough learning curve with this golf course.

"There aren't too many Pete Dye courses that you don't have learning curves. You have to learn to love them and get used to them and learn where to hit them."

The World Cup, being staged for the 49th time, is the fourth and final World Golf Championships event of the year.

Defending champions are Japan's Shigeki Maruyama and Toshi Izawa, who won last year's title by two strokes from the U.S. at the Vista Vallarta course in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

This week, though, Japan are represented by Maruyama and Hidemichi Tanaka.

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