Wednesday, 14 November 2001
It might be in its infancy compared to the Ryder Cup, but South African legend Gary Player believes the biggest event in world golf might learn something about the spirit of the game from this week's inaugural UBS Warburg Cup contest at Kiawah Island in South Carolina.

The 66 year old is player-captain of the 12 strong Rest of the World team against Arnold Palmer's American side in the Ryder Cup-style event for the over 40's, which sees six foursomes ties on Friday, six fourball matches on Saturday and a dozen singles on Sunday deciding the outcome.

And although the competitive edge will be just as strong when the first ball is struck on Pete Dye's famous Ocean Course which staged the 1991 Ryder Cup, the nine time Major champion believes this time the atmosphere will be one of tough but friendly rivalry, with none of the 'War on the Shore' feeling which overtook events a decade ago.

"I think the one thing we are going to emphasise very strongly is the way these guys should behave in victory or in defeat," said Player. "I want to see this played in the spirit of the game, the way Arnold and I have always played golf and the way he always played the Ryder Cup.

"In the past it was great cameraderie and we want to keep it in the true spirit of the game. I think we will see a big change in the next Ryder Cup as well, at least I hope so."

Palmer, who played in six Ryder Cups, concurred with his counterpart. "When I started playing the Ryder Cup, there was certainly a feeling of great competition but there was also a group of guys who played together and were friendly," he said.

"That doesn't take away from the fact they both wanted to win and I think that is the kind of relationship on the course we are looking for this week."

Both men have teams packed full of experience and golfing ability. The make-up of the respective sides sees six players aged 40-49 teaming up with six aged 50 plus with $150,000 going to each member of the winning side while the losers each pick up $100,000.

On paper the American team is favourite with no less than 48 Major titles in their respective locker. Leading the way is 18 time Major champion Jack Nicklaus but he and captain Palmer are ably supplemented by Mark Calcavecchia, John Cook, Ray Floyd, Scott Hoch, Hale Irwin, Larry Nelson, Mark O'Meara, Loren Roberts, Curtis Strange and Tom Watson.

The Rest of the World team boast 18 Majors, with Player having bagged half of those and the South African's team comprises Isao Aoki, Jose Maria Canizares, Denis Durnian, Nick Faldo, Stewart Ginn, Bernhard Langer, Frank Nobilo, Des Smyth, Ian Stanley, Sam Torrance and Ian Woosnam.

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