"McDowell, Kiradech eye glory at World Cup"

Wed 18 Sep 2013

"McDowell, Kiradech eye glory at World Cup"

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Melbourne, Australia, September 18: Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell has set his sights on becoming Ireland’s first winner of the ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf since 1997 when he tees up in the 57th edition of the event, held at Royal Melbourne Golf Club from November 21-24.
McDowell is the latest global star to commit to the prestigious event along with current Asian Tour number one Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand who is looking forward to teaming up again with compatriot Thongchai in the World Cup of Golf.
The burly Kiradech, who is one of the most exciting players to emerge in Asia, has enjoyed an outstanding season thus far where he has won the Maybank Malaysian Open and registered four other top-10s and a tied 25th finish at the US PGA Championship.
“I remember playing in my first World Cup with Thongchai in 2011. It was my first time playing in the World Cup and it was a very good experience for me. Since then, I’ve became a better player. Playing in big events only improves your game and you can get better,” said Kiradech.
“I’ve learnt a lot since my World Cup debut and I have gone on to win the Maybank Malaysia Open this year. It was a very important win for me as it showed that I can win against the big name players in a co-sanctioned event. I’m better prepared now and looking ahead to Melbourne, it’s important to play well as we’re playing for our country and every putt is very important.
“It will not only impact you but also your partner. I’m confident that Thongchai and I can put up a better showing this time round. We didn’t really do well as we didn’t have the chance to play together for a long time. But it’s different now. I hang out a lot with him in Europe for the past six months and have been practicing a lot together. We know each other really well now.”
Current World Number 11 McDowell came agonisingly close to winning the ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf in 2009, when he and playing partner Rory McIlroy finished joint runners-up with Sweden behind Italy’s victorious Molinari brothers, Edoardo and Francesco.
Ireland’s last World Cup win came at Kiawah Island in 1997, when Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley joined forces to see off the Scottish pairing of Colin Montgomerie and Raymond Russell. The only other time Ireland triumphed at the World Cup of Golf was in 1958, through Harry Bradshaw and Christy O’Connor.
Having enjoyed a superb campaign on both sides of the Atlantic this year, McDowell is confident of ending Ireland’s 16-year drought in Melbourne.
The 34-year-old from Portrush, Northern Ireland, claimed his second US PGA TOUR victory at the RBC Heritage in April, defeating his fellow Major Champion Webb Simpson of America with a par on the first extra hole of the sudden death play-off.
He then returned to Europe in May and added to his collection of European Tour titles with victory in the Volvo World Match Play Championship at the expense of Thongchai Jaidee – who will represent his native Thailand in the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf.
One month after his win in Bulgaria, McDowell promptly secured his ninth European Tour title with a four-shot victory in the Alstom Open de France.
McDowell, who will be making his third appearance in the ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf, said: “I’ve won three times this year so it has to go down as a great season, and it’d be great to round it off by playing well at the World Cup of Golf. I’ve played the World Cup a few times in the past, and always really enjoyed it. The format has changed slightly this year, but it still retains that team element.
“I’ve been to Melbourne many times before and the courses there have some of the greatest greens and the best bunkers on the planet, so Royal Melbourne is going to be a great venue for the event. It’s definitely my kind of golf course. The wind blows quite hard and the course has a real linksy feel to it. It’s one of the finest links courses in the world, so I’m really looking forward to being part of the World Cup again.”
Hugh Delahunty, Minister for Sport and Recreation, said: “Graeme will certainly be a drawcard and a valuable addition to this year's field for the ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf.
"He was a fan favourite at the 2012 Australian Masters and has proven that he's ready to impress the crowds once again and build on his recent successes.  We look forward to see him battle it out at The Royal Melbourne Golf Club in November."
As well as McDowell, Kiradech and Thongchai, American Matt Kuchar and Italian Matteo Manassero have also committed to competing in the ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf.
Tickets to witness the ISPS HANDA World Cup 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/