Friday, 19 March 2010

In a season dominated by Europe’s resounding Ryder Cup success, six members of Ian Woosnam’s dynamic dozen at The K Club will aim to round off the year with further team glory when they represent their respective countries in the World Golf Championships – Barbados World Cup.


The English duo of Luke Donald and David Howell, the Irish pairing of Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley, Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie and Henrik Stenson of Sweden all line up at the idyllic Sandy Lane Resort in St James hoping to add national pride to continental kudos.


Harrington and McGinley, of course, have tasted World Cup success in the past, albeit before it fell under the WGC umbrella in 2000, the Irish duo’s glory coming at Kiawah Island in South Carolina in 1997 when they won by five shots from the Scottish pair of Raymond Russell and Montgomerie.


Donald, too, knows what it takes to succeed in the event, albeit with a different partner, the Englishman combining with Paul Casey at Real Club de Golf de Sevilla in Spain in 2004 to post a sensational 31 under par total of 257 to beat the Spanish duo of Sergio Garcia and Miguel Angel Jiménez by a shot.


However, in Howell, he has an equalled talented partner and will look to give himself a belated birthday gift with victory on Sunday for he turns 29 on Thursday December 7, the first day of competition.


Scotland have never won the World Cup but the year they finished runners-up to Ireland in 1997, Montgomerie took the individual honours, and the eight time European Tour Number One will be looking to recreate that type of form with his new partner and World Cup debutant Marc Warren, winner of The 2006 Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award.


Sweden have tasted World Cup success, back in 1991 when Anders Forsbrand and Per-Ulrik Johansson won at Le Querce in Rome, and Stenson and partner Carl Pettersson will be hoping to emulate that feat. Being the second highest ranked duo in the field behind Donald and Howell, they have every right to be confident.


Completing The Ryder Cup theme are the United States duo of Stewart Cink and J.J. Henry, both of whom played at The K Club, and who will be looking to extend America’s dominance of the World Cup history books with a 24th victory overall, and their first since 2000.


Aside from Donald, Harrington and McGinley, four other men who know the delight of World Cup success will line up.


Germany’s Bernhard Langer won at Grand Cypress in Florida in 1990 in tandem with Torsten Gideon and Europe’s successful Ryder Cup Captain of 2004 teams up this year with Marcel Siem, while South Africa’s Rory Sabbatini, who won in the company of Trevor Immelman at Kiawah Island in 2003, returns this year in partnership with Richard Sterne.


Completing the Roll of Honour are the Welsh duo Bradley Dredge and Stephen Dodd who will travel to Barbados as defending champions after their memorable victory at Victoria Clube de Golfe in Vilamoura 12 months ago.


Dredge and Dodd held a two shot lead at the end of the third round over the English duo of Donald and Howell and the Swedish pairing of Niclas Fasth and Stenson, but torrential rain over the Algarve forced the cancellation of the final round, leaving the title and the trophy in the possession of the men from the Principality.


Not being able to play the final day was disappointing for the tournament organisers but, understandably, not for the Welsh duo. “It was the best rain I have ever watched,” joked Dodd, as they emulated David Llewellyn and Ian Woosnam’s 1987 success at Kapalua in Hawaii.


In total, 24 nations will compete at The Sandy Lane Resort, 18 who qualified automatically through the Official World Golf Ranking – England, Sweden, Scotland, Ireland, Argentina, USA, South Africa, Trinidad & Tobago, Denmark, Canada, Spain, Wales, Korea, Australia, Colombia, Japan, France and Germany – host nation Barbados, and five nations who came through qualifying tournaments in Asia and South America – Singapore, Italy Switzerland, Mexico and Jamaica.


As with last year, the tournament will feature two rounds of foursomes medal play and two rounds of four ball medal play over the four days.

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