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Scotland out to defend World Cup title

Colin Montgomerie is out to become the first player since Tiger Woods to retain the World Cup of Golf for his country when he takes up the Scottish cause at the $6 million, 28-team event in Shenzhen this week.

The 45-year-old, partnered by Marc Warren, beat the United States in a playoff last year to take the World Cup back to the home of golf for the first time.

He returns for his 10th appearance at the tournament alongside Alastair Forysth.

“It took a long time for Scotland to win the World Cup so winning in the playoff at Mission Hills was a wonderful feeling. very, very special,” said Montgomerie.

“I am looking forward immensely to defending the title with Alastair this time around.”

Swedes Robert Karlsson and Henrik Stenson are the strongest pairing on paper, ranked sixth and 12th in the world, but rankings do not always count for much in team events.

“We have only had one chance to play together before in the Ryder Cup and that worked well,” said Karlsson, the 2008 European order of merit winner.

The U.S. have been champions 23 times in the various manifestations of the event over the 54 years since it started as the Canada Cup, but have not won since Tiger Woods and David Duval retained the trophy for their country in 2000.

Boo Weekley and Heath Slocum came as close as a third playoff hole last year and 2003 British Open champion Ben Curtis and Brandt Snedeker will represent the U.S. this time around.

“In our sport you do not get the opportunity too many times to compete for your country and this is going to be a thrill for me,” said Snedeker.

Rory Sabbatini was a winner with Trevor Immelman in 2003, one of two occasions the South Africans have triumphed this decade, and he will be back for another crack with Richard Sterne.

Mission Hills, a huge complex of 12 courses which hopes to become as synonymous with the World Cup as Augusta is with the U.S. Masters over the next 11 years, again hosts the tournament on its Olazabal course.

China have never won the trophy and will again be represented by last year’s Asian order of merit winner Liang Wenchong and the trailblazer of Chinese golf, Zhang Lianwei.

“It was amazing to see the number of spectators who turned up to watch (last year),” said Zhang. “I am looking forward to another huge turnout this year which will motivate us to play well.”

Thursday’s opening round will be played in a fourball format. Friday will feature foursomes action before the format switches back to fourballs on Saturday and then again to foursomes on the final day.

 

November 26, 2008




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