Asia's top stars all set for World Cup

Fri 27 Sep 2013

Asia's top stars all set for World Cup

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Melbourne, Victoria, September 27: Asia will be well represented at the US$8 million ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club from November 21-24, 2013 with 13 of the continent’s top stars from seven nations, including first-timer Siddikur of Bangladesh, qualifying for the prestigious event.
Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee and Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who are the past and current Asian Tour No. 1s respectively, will spearhead the region’s challenge along with Korea’s K.J. Choi, an Asian Tour honorary member and eight-time winner on the PGA Tour, countryman Bae Sang-moon, India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar and Anirban Lahiri, Liang Wen-chong and Wu Ashun of China, Filipino duo Angelo Que and Juvic Pagunsan and Siddikur.
Japan will also be represented in the ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf, with its two players to be confirmed later.
All eyes will be on Bangladeshi trailblazer Siddikur, who will become the first player from his country to compete in the World Cup. He became the first man to win on the Asian Tour at the 2010 Brunei Open and  has since established himself by finishing in the top-10 of the Order of Merit in 2010 and 2011 and 17th last season.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand
“I’m very excited to represent Bangladesh in the World Cup. This will be the first time that Bangladesh will feature in the World Cup and it’ll be an historic moment. I’ve played in the qualifiers before but have never made it into the event proper, so this is just great,” said the 29-year-old Siddikur.
“It will have a great impact for my country. Golf is getting more popular and people do recognise me along the streets back home and I feel proud to be the flagbearer for golf in my country. There’s no shortcut to success. Hard work and more practice will only make me a better player and that is what I strive to do every day.
“I’ve definitely developed a lot since I started playing on the Asian Tour. My first win in Brunei was something that I’ll never forget and I always try my best to get that second win on the Asian Tour. Hopefully it’ll not be long before I get my hands on another title again,” added the Bangladeshi, who is currently 17th on the Asian Tour Order of Merit following four top-10s.
Asian Tour Chairman Kyi Hla Han said: “We are delighted that 13 players from Asia have qualified for the ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf, which is another strong sign of progress made by our players. Asia will contribute the second highest total number of players in the World Cup after Europe and we have every confidence that our players will compete well.
“It is fantastic to see that Siddikur has qualified for the World Cup which is a first ever by a Bangladeshi. I am hopeful that his participation at Royal Melbourne will generate a lot of interest on him in Australia and also back home in Bangladesh.”
The Minister for Sport and Recreation, Hugh Delahunty, remarked: “We are delighted to welcome so many of Asia’s leading golfers to Melbourne for the ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf.  Their participation is a reflection of the truly international status of the World Cup.”
KJ Choi. KJ Choi.
The ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf, which will be played under a new format this year, will feature an individual competition offering prize money of US$7 million while nations with two qualified players will compete in the team event offering US$1 million in prize money.
The last time Asia won the World Cup was in 2002 through the Japanese team of Shigeki Maruyama and Toshi Izawa. Prior to that, the Chinese Taipei duo of Hsieh Min-nan and Lu Liang-huan triumphed at the 1972 edition in Royal Melbourne.
Torakichi Nakamura and Koichi Ono of Japan were the first Asian pair to win the World Cup in 1957 when the event was held in their home country.
The tournament was founded by the International Golf Association in association with industrialist John Jay Hopkins for the purpose of promoting international goodwill through golf. It began in 1953 as the Canada Cup and was renamed World Cup in 1967.
The 2013 World Cup will be the 57th staging of this event, which has seen all of the greats of the game lift the prestigious trophy. The roll of honour from the World Cup reads like a who’s who of golf. Great names such as Snead, Hogan, Nicklaus, Palmer, Trevino, Faldo, Ballesteros, Langer, Woods, Els and Montgomerie have all been able to call themselves World Champions.
The ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf will be promoted by IMG.
Tickets to witness the world class event are on sale now from www.ticketmaster.com.au.
About ISPS
ISPS is a ‘General Incorporated Association’ based in Tokyo.  ISPS was founded by Japanese philanthropist Dr Haruhisa Handa in 2006 to support charitable causes throughout the sporting world.  ISPS has fostered partnerships with golf governing bodies worldwide to help develop the game at every level and promote blind and disabled golf.  ISPS’s heritage in supporting blind and disabled golf and Dr Handa’s interest and philanthropic contribution in golf has formed the foundation of its wider mission for golf to become a Paralympic sport. Visit www.ispsgolf.com
About Melbourne
Known as one of the world’s most liveable cities, it is Melbourne’s sophisticated, yet edgy style combined with super-friendly people that gives the city its personality. With an impressive calendar of high profile international events, including The Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival and The Australian Open Tennis Championships, Melbourne is a leader in staging major events and providing a world-class welcome to international visitors.
With inner-city precincts ranging from the infamous city centre laneways to the beachy, bayside chic of the south and eclectic northside cool – Melbourne is a city of constant discovery where fashion, food, sport and entertainment, shopping, heritage, the arts and good living all come together to creative a lifestyle envied by many around the world. Food and wine lovers in particular will be in food heaven in gourmet Melbourne. Eating experiences range from award-winning celebrity chef restaurants to farmers markets selling locally sourced wines and fresh produce.
As one of the most compact regions in Australia, Victoria offers a huge variety of landscapes and experiences within a few hours of Melbourne. Whether its deserts, alpine ski resorts, mighty rivers, great lakes, wildlife, or the unparalleled spectacle and beauty of the world renowned Great Ocean Road, Victoria is all about quality experiences.
Many of the state’s regional attractions, including valleys of vineyards and international surf beaches, are less than a two-hour drive from Melbourne. But with more time to spare, the entire state offers a variety of scenic routes ideal for self-drive and personalised tours.
About the International Federation of PGA Tours
The International Federation of PGA Tours was formed in 1996 by golf’s five world governing bodies – The European Tour, Japan Golf Tour Organization, PGA TOUR, PGA Tour of Australasia and Sunshine Tour (South Africa PGA Tour) with the purpose of providing a forum for the world’s professional golf organizations to discuss issues of mutual importance and, together, develop and promote the game of golf on a global basis.  As part of its mission, the Federation initiated the World Golf Championships in 1999.  The Asian Tour joined the International Federation of PGA Tours in November 1999, while the Canadian Tour and the Tour de las Americas joined the Federation as associate members in 2000 and 2007, respectively.
In step with global growth of professional golf, the International Federation of PGA Tours announced an expansion and restructuring of its membership in 2009, adding the International Golf Association and additional professional golf tours, including – for the first time – women’s golf tours: China Golf Association; Korea Professional Golfers’ Association; Professional Golf Tour of India; LPGA Tour; Ladies European Tour; Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour; Japan LPGA; Korean LPGA; and Ladies Asian Golf Tour.
About the International Golf Association
The International Golf Association (IGA) is a not-for-profit corporation, chartered in the State of New York in 1956.  IGA is governed by its seven-member Board of Directors.  Jonathan Linen is the IGA Board Chairman.  Through its association with the International Federation of PGA Tours, IGA continues its international goodwill through golf mission and looks forward to the 2013 return of the World Cup to The Royal Melbourne Golf Club, one of the world’s greatest golf venues.
About IMG
IMG Worldwide is a global sports, fashion and media business, with nearly 3,500 employees operating in 30 countries around the globe. IMG’s areas of expertise are diverse and wide ranging:  IMG College; IMG’s Joint Ventures in China, Brazil, India and Turkey; IMG Media; IMG Events and Federations; IMG Golf and IMG Tennis; IMG Fashion; IMG Models; IMG Art+Commerce; IMG Clients; IMG Academy; IMG Consulting and IMG Licensing.  More information is available at www.imgworld.com  Follow us on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/ IMG_Worldwide and Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/IMG-Worldwide/