The top two ranked players in the world, Martin Kaymer and Lee Westwood, will headline the Volvo World Match Play Championship at Finca Cortesín from May 19-22, 2011, with the first 13 qualified players accepting their invitation to this prestigious event.
The Championship is shaping up to be one of the major events of the season as this year’s qualifiers, Rory McIlroy, after his runner up finish at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, and Paul Casey, winner of the inaugural Volvo Golf Champions, plus Paul Lawrie and Johan Edfors, who finished first and second at last week’s Open de Andalucía de Golf by Turkish Airlines, immediately confirmed their participation in the 24-player Volvo World Match Play Championship field.
They join winner of the 2010 Dubai Golf Championship, Robert Karlsson, and the four leading players in the final 2010 Race to Dubai Ranking: 2010 Race to Dubai winner Kaymer, World Number One Westwood, Ian Poulter and Francesco Molinari. They will join the previously announced Major Champions Graeme McDowell and Y E Yang, defending champion Ross Fisher, and 2008 Volvo Masters champion Søren Kjeldsen.
All the recent changes and enhancements that the partnership of Volvo, IMG and the European Tour have devised have proved popular amongst the players, as all of the 13 players qualified have taken up their place in the field. On arrival at Finca Cortesín in May, the players will be divided into eight groups of three players to be played out on Thursday and Friday, with 16 players progressing to Saturday in a knock-out format with the semis and final played on Sunday.
Kaymer is relishing the prospect of playing in what will be his first event back on European soil this year.
He said: “I can’t wait to return to Spain to play in the Volvo World Match Play Championship as I am hoping to do much better than I did in my debut in 2009. I had a great run earlier in the year at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, so I am really looking forward to playing match play again and hope I can continue my good form. I am also very excited to return to stay in the luxurious Finca Cortesín Hotel once again, and to enjoy all the wonderful hospitality and services they offer.”
Former World Match Play champion Westwood said: “I played the new Volvo World Match Play Championship at Finca Cortesin in 2009 and found the facilities to be truly world class, and the new ‘Champions League’ format is exciting. This year, with an increased field of 24 of the best players in the world, the Volvo World Match Play Championship is back to its very best and a credit to The European Tour. The event transported itself well to southern Spain, and its new springtime date means we have two huge events back-to-back on the European Tour in May, with big prize money and vital Race to Dubai and World Ranking points on offer.
“It is fantastic news that the first 11 players to qualify for the Volvo World Match Play Championship have all accepted their invitations, and it will be interesting to see who qualifies after the Masters. I believe this will be Volvo's 124th title sponsorship in professional golf, which is a phenomenal record of investment in our game and I look forward to doing battle with the guys what is shaping up to be a fantastic field.”
Per Ericsson, President of Volvo Event Management Golf, said: “We are half way through the qualifying process, and already we have a wonderful field of world class players assembled. We are very happy that our changes to this historic event seem to have enhanced this great tournament, and it is a real pleasure to receive this positive feedback from the players.”
Vicente Rubio, Managing Director Finca Cortesín, said: “We are really looking forward to welcoming this already world-class field of players to Finca Cortesín in May. All our preparations are going well and the players, who were so positive in their feedback in 2009, will find everything to be even better this year. While the new date works well for the players it also is fantastic for Finca Cortesín, as bathed in the beautiful Spanish sunshine it will certainly allow us to showcase our wonderful course and facilities in the best possible light.”
Guy Kinnings Managing Director of IMG Golf, EMEA , said: “I have seen many changes to the World Match Play Championship over the years, all aimed at improving and enhancing this great event, started by Mark McCormack in 1964. Looking at the evidence of the great field already assembled for this year’s tournament, and the fact that all the players have shown their appreciation of the enhancements by each accepting the opportunity to play, demonstrates how well the format changes have gone down with the players. Working with our partners Volvo and The European Tour, we look forward to another thrilling edition of the Volvo World Match Play Championship.”
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