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World Cup to become World Golf Championship in 2000
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Future of World Cup uncertain

Future of World Cup uncertain

Two years after announcing that the World Cup of golf would become the fourth World Championships event in 2000, U.S. PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem admitted Wednesday that it was unlikely to happen.

"Whether it should be positioned as part of the World Golf Championships, I'm not sure at this point," Finchem said on the eve of the NEC Invitational, the second event of the new World Golf Championships series.

Finchem was pressed to discuss the status of the World Cup after the PGA Tour's 2000 schedule was released recently with no mention of the event.

"We are pretty excited about the future of the World Cup and we're looking at format changes and interesting venues, but we are not quite there yet," Finchem said.

"As far as the World Golf Championships goes, we are comfortable with the sequence and see no reason to extend the number. The World Cup could go either way. We have not made a final determination."

The World Cup, featuring two-man teams from 32 nations, began as the Canada Cup in 1953 and has a long, although inglorious, history.

The even was canceled a couple of years due to lack of sponsorship and never has really grabbed the imagination of the golf public, due in large part to the absence of many top players.

But when Finchem announced amid great fanfare in 1997 that it would become a World Championships event, with a new format, its future seemed bright.

This year's PGA Tour media guide says: "The existing World Cup ... becomes the team competition for the World Golf Championships next year." Things have obviously changed since the media guide was published.

This year's World Cup, using the traditional format, will be held at The Mines Country Club in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from November 18-21.

The World Championships began in February with a 64-man match play event in California. This week's event at Firestone Country Club replaces the old World Series of golf.

The third World Championships event -- the American Express Championship -- will be held in Spain in November.

Eligibility this week is restricted to members of the latest-named Ryder and Presidents Cup teams and 41 players have qualified -- 17 Americans, 12 Europeans and 12 others.

Perhaps the luckiest person in the field is Andrew Coltart, the Scot who on Sunday was a shock selection for Europe's Ryder Cup team.

Coltart was at Munich Airport waiting to fly home from the BMW Open when he heard he had received one of Mark James's two captain's picks. Jesper Parnevik received the other.

"I thought it was a toss up between Bernhard Langer and Robert Karlsson," Coltart said of the likely choices for the final spot on the team. "I had given it my best shot and just fallen short (of qualifying automatically) at the final hurdle.

"I probably feel more sorry for Robert. Bernhard, I'm sure, will admit he hasn't played the way he's capable," Coltart said.

"It's nice that somebody thinks you are more capable than Bernhard Langer at this minute. It's a tremendous boost."

 

Reuters