MISSION HILLS, China, August 2 – Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell will team up for Ireland at this year’s OMEGA Mission Hills World Cup, said organisers Tuesday, with Italy’s Molinari brothers set to defend the title.
US Open winner McIlroy, ranked fifth in the world, picked Ryder Cup hero and playing partner McDowell, for the November 24-27 event in China, reprising a partnership that was narrowly beaten in the 2009 event.
“Graeme and I really enjoyed the experience at Mission Hills two years ago. We only missed out by a shot, and are looking forward to forming the Irish team again and trying to go one better this time.”
McDowell, the 2010 US Open winner, added: “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.”
Masters winner Charl Schwartzel has also confirmed his participation in the biennial tournament and will pair up with last year’s British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen.
Italy’s Edoardo and Francesco Molinari won in 2009. Francesco, the highest ranked Italian at Number 23 in the world, could have selected Matteo Manassero (30th) as his partner, but opted for his brother (43rd) instead.
Eighteen exempt nations out of the 28 lining up at Hainan Island have confirmed their entry. Their partners have to be announced by August 22.
Nine more countries will qualify via regional qualifiers in Asia, Europe and South America, with the top three from each gaining exemption.
As the host nation, China qualifies automatically for the OMEGA Mission Hills World Cup to complete the field.
USPGA champion and world number three Martin Kaymer will represent Germany, with England’s Ian Poulter and America’s Matt Kuchar also confirmed. All three are yet to select their playing partners.