Thursday, 15 November 2001
Bernhard Langer will get an early opportunity to banish the unhappy memory of The 1991 Ryder Cup Matches at Kiawah Island when he lines up in the opening match of the inaugural UBS Warburg Cup on The Island Course at Kiawah.

A decade ago at the famous South Carolina course, the German featured in the final singles and missed a six foot putt on the 18th green against Hale Irwin which let the Americans win back the trophy.

Now ten years on Langer will partner New Zealander Frank Nobilo for the Rest of the World team in the first foursomes tie against the American duo of Scott Hoch and John Cook in the Ryder Cup-style match for the over 40's.

In total, six foursomes ties will be played on the opening day with six fourball contests on Saturday, leaving the destination of the trophy hinging on the dozen singles ties on Sunday. Already there have been some interesting match ups.

Aside from the opening tie, the third match sees the men who will captain the respective sides in The 34th Ryder Cup Match at The De Vere Belfry next September, Sam Torrance and Curtis Strange, go head to head, Torrance partnering Ian Woosnam while Strange lines up alongside Larry Nelson.

Further down the line up, the respective playing captains face up to one another, Rest of the World captain Gary Player partnering Ireland's Des Smyth against American captain Arnold Palmer and his chosen partner, 1998 Open Champion Mark O'Meara.

The match featuring the captains blew away the belief that all the matches would feature players in similar age categories partnering each other, both Palmer and Player (from the 50 plus age bracket) teaming up with players in the 40-49 age group.

"When you look down the list of players on both sides, they are all talented so I don't really think that age comes into it," said Palmer. "I paired people who I thought would play well together, simple as that."

Player agreed, saying: "To win matches you have to hit the best shots and produce the best golf so to be honest it doesn't really matter who you are paired with because they are all outstanding golfers and great players."

Palmer admitted he had originally planned to partner Jack Nicklaus before the Golden Bear, holder of a record 18 major titles, had to withdraw from the American team with a recurrence of a lower back problem, to be replaced by US Seniors Tour regular Dana Quigley.

"I think when Jack heard I was planning to partner him, he left town!" joked the American captain. "But Mark stepped up and said he could bear the brunt of playing with me! I've known Mark for a number of years and he is a good friend - I'm sure we will have fun."

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