Golf - News 2012

© Volvo in Golf Colsaerts y German Lopez Madrid
Colsaerts y German Lopez Madrid

COLSAERTS HITS THE JACKPOT WITH ANOTHER VOLVO WIN IN SPAIN

Volvo-event specialist Nicolas Colsaerts has been crowned the 2012 Volvo World Match Play Champion, after defeating Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell in the final at the 18th hole.

This year’s tournament at Finca Cortesín saw 24 of the world’s best players go head-to-head, creating tension at every turn, and many memorable moments. The final was no different, as 2011 Volvo China Open winner Colsaerts, tussled and spared with McDowell all the way, before prevailing at the death.

“It's such a big tournament that you should be all fired up. Match play, it's a different format. But you know, the Volvo event at Fancourt is just an unbelievable place, too. China after last year, it's always going to be a tournament that's close to my heart. So yeah, Volvo has been very, very, very kind to me in the last year and the half.”

Colsaerts came to Spain having never finished lower than fourth in a Volvo event. The Belgian beat McDowell at the quarterfinal stage of last year’s Volvo World Match Play, and after staging a heroic comeback against Paul Lawrie to reach the final this time round, the European Tour’s longest hitter started the biggest round of his career with plenty of confidence.

Despite the wind gusting at up to 30mph, and some tricky pin positions being set up for the final, Colsaerts holed a long eagle putt at the 3rd to move ahead. McDowell however, has been a mark of consistency all week, and he was never going to make things easy for his opponent.

The players were exchanging blows frequently, in what was developing into a classic match play contest. McDowell looked relaxed enough, happily cruising around between holes in his buggy. But his steady game began to desert him - a miss-hit at Finca Cortesín’s signature 13th hole, allowed Colsaerts to claim a two hole lead.

McDowell, who sank the winning putt at the 2010 Ryder Cup, refused to give up. However, it was Colsaerts who edged closer to becoming the first Belgian to win two European Tour events, with a winning par four at the 16th to restore his two-hole advantage.

©Volvo in Golf Nicholas Colsaerts
Nicholas Colsaerts

The battle wasn’t over there though – Colsaerts showing that he is human after all, missing a short putt at 17 to hand McDowell a lifeline. But the 29-year-old has shown his resilience in the face of adversity all week – and he sealed the biggest win of his career with a par at 18. So, Ian Poulter reigned in 2011, but Colsaerts keeps his remarkable Volvo tournament record going, to claim a winner’s cheque of €700,000, and the prestigious honour of being the 2012 Volvo World Match Play Champion.

“Where do I start? I felt that I had a pretty good shot at it last year in the same format, and I was a little disappointed not to get to the final. You know, two days ago I was in my room taking a nap thinking I was going to fly home. It means so much to be standing here, it's fantastic.”

CASEY COMPLETES WORLD-CLASS FIELD FOR 2012 VOLVO WORLD MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP
Defending Champion Ian Poulter Returns to Spain
7th May 2012

The 2006 Champion and 2011 Volvo Golf Champions winner, Paul Casey, has received the sponsors invite completing the field for the 2012 Volvo World Match Play Championship at Finca Cortesín, Spain, from May 17-20. For the first time in the Championship’s history half of the field will be US PGA Tour members and the draw will contain three Spanish players.

Paul Casey, winner of the 2006 Volvo China Open and 2011 Volvo Golf Champions said, “I am very grateful to Volvo for giving me this invite as I would have hated to miss out on what is one of my favourite events of the year. Having been injured at the start of the season, I am beginning to get a little more tournament tough and I think the match play format will suit me very well. I can’t wait to see who I will have in my group. Of course, being a Ryder Cup year, this great Championship is even more significant and we will all be out to impress our Captain (José María Olazábal) in every match.”

The 24-man elite 2012 field offers a number of intriguing story lines as 15 of the World’s top 60 gather for the only match play event to be held in Europe this season and one of the most prestigious tournaments in Europe.

Three Spaniards have qualified for the Championship for the first time; Sergio García, Álvaro Quirós and Rafael Cabrera-Bello, each offering compelling reasons why they should be the first Spanish winner since the Championship moved to Spain in 2009 and since legend, Seve Ballesteros, triumphed in 1991.

Six Major Champions will be seeking their first Match Play title in the form of Darren Clarke, Martin Kaymer, Charl Schwartzel, Graeme McDowell, Paul Lawrie and Retief Goosen while South African rising star, Branden Grace, will be looking to secure a ‘Volvo Grand Slam’ on the day of his 24th birthday, having already won the 2012 Volvo China Open and Volvo Golf Champions.

Twelve nations are represented at the 2012 Volvo World Match Play Championship with England leading the charge with six players qualifying for this elite tournament including defending Champion, Ian Poulter and World Number nine, Justin Rose. Eleven players will be making their Volvo World Match Play Championship debut including American star Brandt Snedeker, ranked 23rd in the world, Australia’s John Senden and Sweden’s Peter Hanson who finished third at the recent US Masters. Retief Goosen is the most experienced campaigner in the field with ten appearances to his name while Thomas Björn, a three-time winner on the European Tour last year, will be making his sixth appearance. Colombia’s Camilo Villegas and 2011 Volvo China Open Champion Nicolas Colsaerts will be amongst six players making only their second appearance.

The Championship’s exciting format will see the players, divided into eight groups of three, play in a round-robin group format on Thursday and Friday. This will decide which 16 players progress to Saturday’s knock-out stage with the semi-finals and final played on Sunday.

Per Ericsson, President of Volvo Event Management, added, “We are delighted to be announcing this final field containing so many world class players and offering so many intriguing possible storylines. I can’t wait for the groupings to be announced as they will no doubt throw up some fascinating match-ups. We look forward to another glorious week at the spectacular Finca Cortesín. To add to the excitement, this year we have a very special hole-in-one prize on the 10th hole where the players will have the chance to win the All New Volvo V40.”

Guy Kinnings, Global Co-Managing Director of IMG Golf, added, “Once again we have gathered a fantastic international field to challenge for the 47th Volvo World Match Play Championship title. We look forward to another great Championship with our partners, Volvo and the European Tour, at the beautiful setting of Finca Cortesín. With Race to Dubai, Ryder Cup and World Ranking points on offer as well as the kudos of some notable scalps on offer, this Championship has all the ingredients to make for a thrilling week of match play golf.”

George O’Grady CBE, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “Throughout its long and distinguished history, the Volvo World Match Play Championship has produced some exceptional and memorable encounters. This 47th edition of the championship at the stunning Finca Cortesin course will surely deliver more exciting moments as this outstanding field seeks to emulate Ian Poulter’s achievements in winning in 2011. Our congratulations and thanks go to Volvo, IMG and all supporting sponsors, as well as to all the officials and everyone connected with Finca Cortesín, for making this week possible.”

Vicente Rubio, Managing Director Finca Cortesín said, “We are really looking forward to welcoming these global golf stars to Finca Cortesín next week. The players have been very generous in their kind comments about Finca Cortesín in the past and we have worked hard to ensure that, once again, everything is in place for another excellent week of golf for all the players and spectators.”

 

 

GRACE TAKES ON US AND EUROPEAN TOUR FIELD AT 2012 VOLVO WORLD MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP
24th April 2012

With half the field expected to be US PGA members, Volvo China Open Champion and Volvo Golf Champions 2012 winner Branden Grace, is seeking his third Volvo title of 2012 at the upcoming Volvo World Match Play Championship. Having already won an astounding three titles in his rookie year, Grace now faces his toughest task yet at as he seeks to better an elite international field at Finca Cortesín, Spain, from May 17-20.

The latest star players to commit to the 24-man elite field include home favourite Sergio García, a two-time winner in Spain last year, American star Brandt Snedeker, ranked 23rd in the world and making his playing debut in Spain and Colombia’s Camilo Villegas,a three-time winner on the US PGA Tour and returning to Finca Cortesín for the first time since 2009. They are joined by 2010 US Open Champion and World No.18, Graeme McDowell, Australia’s John Senden, ranked 31st on the Official World Golf Rankings, and 2011 Masters Champion and World No.13, Charl Schwartzel who have all confirmed their entry into next month’s Championship.

Sergio Garcia, who will join his countrymen, Álvaro Quirós and Rafael Cabrera-Bello in trying to win their first Volvo World Match Play Championship title, is thrilled to have qualified. He explained, “It is tough to qualify for such an elite field so I am delighted to have won my place in the Volvo World Match Play field for next month. I am hitting the ball really well and the confidence is coming so I am looking forward to playing at Finca Cortesín very much. As everyone knows, I love match play and even more, I love playing in Spain in front of my home fans, so I think this will be a great week for me.”

Grace, now ranked 4th on the 2012 Race to Dubai, said after his Volvo China Open victory, “It’s just amazing and just shows you the standard of golf that I am playing right now. To have three wins on The European Tour at this stage of my career is awesome. This tournament is very prestigious and to have two Volvo titles is unbelievable. The two Volvo titles are huge and then the Joburg Open will always be very special as the first one in my career. Now I just have to go back to Europe and win the third Volvo title!”

Players already announced for the 47th edition of this historic event include defending Champion Ian Poulter, world number 10 Justin Rose, 2011 Open Champion Darren Clarke, 2010 US PGA Champion Martin Kaymer, two-time US Open Champion Retief Goosen,1999 Open Champion Paul Lawrie and 2010 Ryder Cup star Peter Hanson.

The Championship’s exciting format will see the players, divided into eight groups of three, play in a round-robin group format on Thursday and Friday. This will decide which 16 players progress to Saturday’s knock-out stage with the semi-finals and final played on Sunday.

Per Ericsson, President of Volvo Event Management, added, “After an excellent week at the Volvo China Open and an extremely impressive performance by Branden Grace, we are now firmly focused on the Volvo World Match Play Championship and what an exciting field we are gathering for this year’s tournament. I look forward to revealing yet more confirmed players next week.”

Guy Kinnings Managing Director of IMG Golf, EMEA added, “I remember the days when Mark McCormack announced his eight invited players for the match play and there were many players who understandably felt greatly disappointed to be left out. Now we have a transparent qualification criteria developed with our partners, Volvo and the European Tour, ensuring that leading players from around the world have the chance to qualify for this historic event. With Race to Dubai, Ryder Cup and World Ranking points on offer as well as the kudos of some notable scalps on offer, we can’t wait for this world-class field to go head-to-head at the beautiful setting of Finca Cortesín.”

World Class Field Starts to Take Shape for Finca Cortesín and the Volvo World Match Play Championship

Defending Champion Ian Poulter Returns to Spain

29th March 2012

Defending Champion, Ian Poulter, has confirmed he will defend his title at the 2012 Volvo World Match Play Championship at Finca Cortesín, Spain, from May 17-20, 2012. The 2012 Championship will once again attract the world’s best golfers with the final 24 man field to be announced in the weeks after the conclusion of the US Masters.

Last year Poulter confirmed his reputation as one of golf's most gutsy competitors as he capped a succession of comeback wins at the 2011 Volvo World Match Play Championship with victory, over current world number one, Luke Donald in the final at Finca Cortesín.

The final field of the 47th edition of this historic tournament looks set to match the unprecedented strength of the 2011 Championship. Repeating last year’s successfully amended format, on arrival at Finca Cortesín the players will be divided into eight groups of three players to be play in a round-robin group format on Thursday and Friday to decide which 16 players progress to Saturday’s knock-out stage with the semi-finals and final played on Sunday.

Defending Champion, Ian Poulter, is eager to play in what will be the first event back on European soil after the Masters and the most highly-prized golf event in Spain in 2012. He explained, “I can’t wait to return to Spain to defend my title at the Volvo World Match Play Championship. I love the cut and thrust of match play and find it a refreshing change from the usual stroke play format we play week in and week out on the Tour. I am also very excited be heading back to stay at the luxurious Finca Cortesín Hotel once again and all the wonderful hospitality and services they have on offer as it is definitely one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever stayed in.”

Poulter continued, “With the fact that it’s a Ryder Cup year, I think it will be even more exciting this year with every match from the group stages to the final a chance for aspiring team members to impress Captain Olazábal in what is our final chance to play match play before Medinah.”

Per Ericsson, President of Volvo Event Management, added, “It is wonderful to hear our reigning Champion will be returning to Finca Cortesín to defend his title and to hear his enthusiasm for the Championship. We are coming up to a very exciting time on the golf calendar and it will be fascinating to see what the US Masters and of course the winner of the Volvo China Open will bring in terms of the final field. We are very happy that our changes to the qualification and format of this historic event have enhanced the tournament in many ways and that so many top players are anxious to earn their place in this elite field.”

Guy Kinnings, Global Co-Managing Director of IMG Golf, concluded, “Last year we made some significant changes to the date, format and qualification criteria and we feel they did much to improve this great event, started by IMG’s Founder Mark McCormack in 1964. Many observers thought the 2011 tournament was one of the most exciting in its long history. The player’s feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and once again we look set to assemble another world class field for this year’s Championship. Working with our partners Volvo, Finca and the European Tour we look forward to another exciting edition of the Volvo World Match Play Championship.”

Vicente Rubio, Managing Director Finca Cortesín said, “We are really looking forward to the return of the Volvo World Match Play Championship and to once again hosting a world class field of players, including our 2011 Champion at Finca Cortesín in May. The players have always been very generous in their kind comments about Finca Cortesín and we aim to make it an even better experience for them this year. All our preparations are going well and the course is in fantastic shape and we are sure that everyone will enjoy the week as much as they did last year and in 2009.”

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