Twenty-eight nations are ready to chase glory at the OMEGA Mission Hills World Cup after the tournament began in style with a spectacular opening ceremony on the 23rd of November at the Mission Hills Resort in Haikou, China. Participants included players, officials from world golf’s leading organisations, local dignitaries and other VIPs. The ceremony started with a spectacular routine by Chinese dancers and then featured a number of speeches before the players were finally introduced along with huge flags from each competing country.
George O'Grady pays tribute to David Chu
European Tour Chief Executive George O’Grady said: “Congratulations to all 28 nations here today. The diversity of this field is testament to John Jay Hopkins, who founded the tournament, and we wish them all the very best of luck this week.” Mr. O'Grady also paid tribute to Dr David Chu, the founder of Mission Hills, who died this year, leaving the legacy of Mission Hills in the hands of his two sons, Ken and Tenniel.
“We were all very sorry to hear of Dr Chu's death,” he added. “Golf has lost a great visionary and we are proud to be here today.”
Peter Dawson, the Chief Executive of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, was announced as this year’s recipient of the David Chu award - presented by US PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem - for his services to the game, and he expressed his thanks for it via a recorded video played on a large screen.
OMEGA is title sponsor for the fourth time
The 2011 tournament – to be held from 24-27 November – marks the fourth occasion that OMEGA, the Swiss maker of prestige watches, has been title sponsor of the World Cup of Golf.
The stellar field features five Major winners including current Masters champion, Charl Schwartzel, and US Open title holder, Rory McIlroy.
Schwartzel will form a strong pairing for South Africa with 2010 British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen while McIlroy and Graeme McDowell will team up again for Ireland. A testimony to the strength of the Irish team is the fact that McIlroy succeeded McDowell as Masters champion earlier this year.
The Molinari brothers defend their title
Italian brothers Edoardo and Francesco Molinari are back to defend the title they won at Mission Hills in Shenzhen in 2009. “We have great memories of two years ago and, obviously, it feels very good to be back, even if it’s a different venue," said Francesco Molinari. “We both remember very well the emotions of that week and we will try our best to repeat it this year.”
McIlroy and McDowell finished in a share of second place at the 2009 OMEGA Mission Hills World Cup and McDowell admitted it would be tough to improve on that result this time around.
“There are some great teams here this week,” he said. “When you’ve got a great sponsor like OMEGA that does some great things for golf around the world, then it’s good to see teams supporting this event.
“When you look at the flags at the back of the range and see some of the guys who have won it, like Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, then it puts in perspective what kind of event this is.”
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