Many of the game’s greats – Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, Tiger Woods, Ernie Els and Bernhard Langer, to name but a few – have won the World Cup for their countries, and from November 24 – 27, 56players from 28 nations will descend on Mission Hills Hainan, China to compete for a US$7.5million prize fund.
It will be the first time the Omega Mission Hills World Cup has taken place in Hainan, a stunning tropical island in the South China Sea which is rapidly becoming a golfing mecca with its world class courses.
Two years ago brothers Edoardo and Francesco Molinari took Italy to a maiden victory in the competition, which now takes place every other year instead of annually, heightening the sense of anticipation and excitement.
The pair carded a four under par 68 in the final round foursomes to finish on 29 under, one shot ahead of the Irish duo of Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy and Sweden’s Robert Karlsson and HenrikStenson.
The victory capped a stunning season for Edoardo, who finished top of the Challenge Tour Rankings with three wins and record earnings, and for both players the World Cup win proved to be the catalyst for even greater achievements in 2010.
Between them they won three European Tour titles – Francesco at the WGC-HSBC Champions and Edoardo at the Barclays Scottish Open and the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles – and in October they helped Europe to Ryder Cup glory over the United States.
Recalling the victory at Mission Hills Golf Club, Shenzhen, China, Franceso said: “Winning the Omega Mission Hills World Cup was great for Edoardo and me and fantastic for Italy.
‘We were playing against some of the best golfers in the world which makes winning even better. It was a very tough final day, right up until the end, so to see it out and end up with the trophy was extremely satisfying and gives us great pride.
‘I holed two big putts on the 12th and 13th for birdie which was probably the key moment, and from there we just had to hold on. Of course, it was a pleasure to play alongside my brother and win a title like that for our country.
‘The World Cup is a huge event in golf and I very much hope I can be part of it again this year to defend the title. Italian golf is enjoying a good spell at the moment with me, Edoardo and Matteo Manassero all playing well. Whoever gets the chance to go to China in November will be doing their best to make sure the trophy stays in Italian hands.”
Edoardo added: “It was just great to be part of such a fantastic tournament which has so much history and has been won by so many great names. To add our names to that list of champions is a big honour.
‘We played very well and I hope I am able to qualify for this year’s competition and give everything to successfully defend the title. That would be very special.”
Eighteen of the 28 participating countries will be confirmed at the end of July, when the leading 18 players in the Official World Golf Ranking must confirm their entry. Nine more nations will qualify via the Regional Qualifiers in Asia, Europe and South America, with the top three from each gaining exemption. As the host nation, China qualify automatically for the World Cup to complete the field.


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