Mission Hills Golf Club in China plays host to the World Cup this week. Sweden’s Robert Karlsson and Henrik Stenson defend the title but they’ll face strong opposition from England and Ireland amongst others.
The World Cup is a two-man team event where players represent their country over 72 holes of strokeplay in alternating rounds of fourball better ball and foursomes. The tournament was founded by Canadian industrialist John Jay Hopkins. It began life in 1953 as the Canada Cup but its name changed to the World Cup in 1967.
The USA has won this event an incredible 23 times with South Africa the next most successful nation with five victories.
For the last few seasons, however, the US has not entered its strongest possible team and this year is no exception – Nick Watney and John Merrick, 31st and 139th on the Official World Ranking and just the 12th and 49th best ranked Americans will play under the Stars and Stripes.
The leading European nations will be far better represented. The English pair of Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher will be among the favourites as will Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell. The Spanish duo of Sergio Garcia and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano will also be highly fancied.
In total, 28 nations will compete around Mission Hills’ Olazabal Course for a prize fund of $5,500,000 with $1,700,000 going to the winning team.
All four of the home nations are in the field after Wales and Scotland made it through qualifying. The Welsh will be represented by Stephen Dodd and Jamie Donaldson while the Scots team is David Drysdale and Alastair Forsyth.
Venue: Mission Hills Golf Club, China
Date: November 26-29
Course stats: par 72, 7,251 yards
Purse: $5,500,000 Winner: $1,700,000 (team)
Defending Champions: Sweden (-27)
Thursday 26 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 3.30am
Friday 27 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 3.30am
Saturday 28 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 3.30am
Sunday 29 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 3.30am
Sweden – Defending champions Stenson and Karlsson will be aiming to become the first team to retain the title since the USA managed the feat in 1999 and 2000.
England – Poulter and Fisher have both enjoyed stellar years and will be keen to sign off with a bang.
China – The home side of Liang Wen-chong and Zhang Lian-wei will be eager to give the crowds something to cheer about. It’s been an excellent season for Liang, he’s into the World’s top-100.
Key hole: 15th. A 555 yard par 5 that banks right to left around a huge reservoir. The longest hitters will be tempted to go for the green in two but it requires a long carry across the water.
Skills required: Teamwork. This is a two-man event and the winning side will dovetail well in the fourball and act as a single unit in the foursomes.