ZIMBABWE’S number one golfer Brendon de Jonge is poised to take on the world after tournament officials announced a finalised field for the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia from November 21-24.
The country’s Sportsperson of the Year will line up with recent Presidents Cup participants Australians Adam Scott and Jason Day, Matt Kuchar and Bill Haas from the United States, South Africans Branden Grace and Richard Sterne.
The tournament has been remodelled this year as an individual event with a team component.
De Jonge will be a lone ranger for Zimbabwe as he was the only local to make the grade due to his 63rd world ranking. No other Zimbabwean is ranked in the top 100 on the world golf rankings.
De Jonge hopes to do enough to get the US$7 million-dollar prize money from a US$8 million dollar sponsorship package.
In 1994 Zimbabwe finished a runner-up in the tournament, fielding Tony Johnstone and Mark McNulty while in 1993 the country achieved the same result with Nick Price and McNulty.
De Jonge also expects to represent Zimbabwe at the 2016 Olympics. The Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) website yesterday released a list that includes Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry, Sweden’s Jonas Blixt and Peter Hanson, Matteo Manassero and Francesco Molinari of Italy, Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa and Hideto Tanihara as well as South Korea’s Sang-Moon Bae and KJ Choi, among others to compete at the tournament.
First played in 1953, the World Cup is one of the oldest and most prestigious golf team events in the world, featuring two-man teams from 28 nations.
“The ISPS Handa World Cup represents the historic traditions and the global reach of our great game,” said PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem.
“As we look forward to the 2016 Olympic Games, the ISPS Handa World Cup of golf will bring goodwill and golf’s competitive spirit to one of the great sporting event areas of the world in Melbourne, Australia.
“The event’s stature and prestige is matched by the highly regarded, highly challenging and equally breathtaking venue at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.”
The field represents 34 countries, 74 PGA Tour victories, 31 European Tour champions, 11 players who have played in the Presidents Cup and seven players with Ryder Cup experience.
The 2013 ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf’s system of eligibility will be used when golf makes its Olympic debut in 2016.