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Donald chooses Howell for World Cup team

World number 14 Luke Donald has chosen fellow Ryder Cup player David Howell as his partner for England's World Cup title defence in Portugal in November.

Although Donald won last year's team competition in Spain with Paul Casey, he has opted for Howell because of his higher world ranking and 2005 form.

Howell, who won last month's BMW International Open in Munich, is the world number 19 while Casey, who has struggled for form for much of this year, has dropped to 62nd.

"My first step was to discuss the situation with Paul and he fully understood that I wanted to make my decision based on current form," Donald said in statement released by the European Tour on Tuesday.

"I have spoken to David and he is looking forward to representing England in Portugal. We both feel that we have a great chance of defending the trophy."

Under World Cup rules, the leading 18 available players of different nationalities in the world rankings on September 19 automatically qualified their countries for this year's event, to be held from November 17 to 20.

Each of those players can select their partners, as long as they are also ranked in the world's top 100. Should that not be possible, the next highest-ranked golfer will be offered the spot.

Donald, at number 14, was England's leading player in the official world rankings on Monday. Howell, at 19, was second with Lee Westwood, at 36, third and Ian Poulter, at 51, fourth. Casey, at 62, was England's number five.

Last year, Casey was England's number one and selected second-ranked Donald as his partner for the WGC-World Cup of Golf at the Real Club in Seville.

Casey and Donald earned England a one-shot victory over home favourites Sergio Garcia and Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain after firing an eight-under-par 64 in the last-day foursomes.

The 18 nations who have qualified for this year's World Cup are: the U.S., Fiji, South Africa, Spain, Australia, Argentina, Ireland, England, New Zealand, Denmark, Scotland, Canada, Sweden, South Korea, Japan, Germany, France and Paraguay.

Spain's world number six Garcia has confirmed he will play in Portugal with a partner yet to be confirmed.

Argentina's Angel Cabrera, who finished second with Eduardo Romero when the team competition was held in his home country in 2000, will take part again this year. His partner is also yet to be announced.

Five-times winners South Africa will be led by Tim Clark, France by Ryder Cup player Thomas Levet and Germany will be represented by Alex Cejka and Marcel Siem.

The 2005 WGC-World Cup will be held at Victoria Clube de Golfe in Vilamoura, Portugal.

 

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