If you didn’t get your fill for biennial team competition with the Presidents Cup, you’re treated to a second helping in the form of this week’s Omega Mission Hills World Cup in China.
And speaking of returning for more of the same, defending champions Edoardo and Franceso Molinari of Italy will bid to become the first nation for more than a decade to retain the title.
The pair, who became the first brothers and Italians to win the World Cup, with a one-shot victory over Ireland and Sweden two years ago, will now try to emulate the achievement of Tiger Woods and David Duval in 2000.
“It’s always a great feeling to represent your country, and my memories of the last World Cup were that it was a lot of fun,” said Francesco.“It’s always a pleasure to play golf with my brother. There will be pressure, but a nice kind of pressure.”
While the Molinari brothers haven’t exactly set the world alight with eight top-10s between them this season, Francesco is hoping the memories of 2009 will help reignite their year.
“It was a dream come true when we won here two years ago and it’s always fun playing together. If we are lucky to play some good golf, and we have been both been playing some better golf of late, then hopefully we’ll have a good result again.”
Two years on, they will have a different course to contend with after the $7.5million event was switched to the Mission Hills Resort on Hainan Island, a stunning tropical island in the South China Sea.
But if the venue is new, many of the faces will be familiar, with the Irish duo of Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell returning to China determined to go one better.
“I was delighted when Rory selected me to be his partner again,” said McDowell.
“There is nothing quite like representing Europe in The Ryder Cup or Ireland in the World Cup – it’s a real buzz. We worked well as a partnership two years ago, and we can’t wait to try to claim the title at Hainan Island.”
South African duo Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel look another extremely strong partnership on paper, following Schwartzel’s 3-1-1 record in last week’s Presidents Cup, as well as Oosthuizen’s haul of five top-10s in his last six events.
“Charl and I have been looking forward to the World Cup for a while now,” said the 2010 Open champion.
“Since juniors we’ve dreamed about playing for South Africa in the World Cup, so now that it’s actually happening it’s going to be very special.”
Other leading contenders to the crown include England - Ian Poulter and Justin Rose; Sweden – Robert Karlsson and Alex Noren; Germany – Martin Kaymer and Alex Cejka; and United States – Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland.
Twenty-eight teams of two from Austria to Zimbabwe will tee up in the four-day strokeplay event, with fourballs in the first and third rounds and foursomes in the second and fourth rounds.
Omega Mission Hills World Cup
Mission Hills Resort, Hainan Island, China
Thursday November 24 to Sunday November 27
Par-73; 7,808 yards
$7,500,000 (winner: €1,788,202)
Italy (Edoardo and Francesco Molinari) -29
Most wins: 23 United States
Multiple winners (teammates): 4 Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer; Fred Couples and Davis Love III
Multiple winners (as part of team): 6 Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer
Did you know?
The World Cup dates back to 1953. Originally labeled the Canada Cup, it was contested in the country just twice (the first two years) before adopting the global designation in 1967. It was in the rotation of World Golf Championships from 2000-2006. The event is now staged every two years at Mission Hills in China.
Thursday: Sky Sports 1 from 3.30am
Friday: Sky Sports 1 from 3.30am
Saturday: Sky Sports 1 from 3.30am
Sunday: Sky Sports 1 from 3.30am