The fourth Women’s World Cup of Golf has again attracted a world-class field, headlined by the return of defending champions Paraguay and the inclusion of a number of major champions and Hall of Famers, and eight players ranked within the top ten on the LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour.
Julieta Granada and Celeste Troche will once again represent Paraguay on the fairways of the Gary Player Country Club from 18-20 January 2008 as they defend their title in the $1.4-million event.
The full field of 20 countries has yet to be finalised. But the showpiece event of the global women’s game has already attracted some of its leading stars.
South Africa’s Ashleigh Simon will partner the experienced Laurette Maritz in their fourth Women’s World Cup of Golf together, but this will be Simon’s first appearance as a professional.
The young star joined the paid ranks in May 2007 and broke through with her maiden victory in the Catalonia Ladies Masters on the Ladies European Tour, earning her full playing privileges on the Tour in her rookie season. Simon is also through to the final stage of the LPGA Tour’s Qualifying School.
Bettina Hauert, currently ranked first on the Ladies European Tour’s New Star Money list, will spearhead Germany’s challenge following a 2007 season highlighted by her two wins and two second-place finishes.
Wales’s Becky Brewerton was recently voted the Golf Union of Wales’s Professional Player of the Year after a year in which the 25-year-old claimed her first Ladies European Tour title in the Ladies English Open. She was also the first Welshwoman to ever compete on the European team in the Solheim Cup.
The United States of America has confirmed that the legendary combination of Juli Inkster, ranked seventh in the world, and Pat Hurst will represent them for the second successive year.
They finished second seven strokes behind Paraguay in the 2007 tournament after mounting a strong charge in the foursomes.
Tania Fourie, CEO of the Women’s World Cup of Golf, said the quality of the field again reiterated the ability of the event to showcase the global depth and strength of the women’s game.
"Every year I think to myself that we can’t improve on the field we’ve had, and every year we keep attracting some of the top players in the game. Our 2008 field features a great selection of young stars and experienced campaigners who will each bring their own individual brilliance to Sun City."
Carolyn Bivens, Commissioner of the LPGA Tour, praised the tournament for once again attracting some of the biggest names in women’s golf.
"We are thrilled to kick-off the season at the 2008 Women’s World Cup of Golf. This event promotes team unity for the top players from around the world representing their countries.
"We’d like to extend a special thanks to South African Deputy President Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka for her support of the event, and we appreciate the enthusiasm and commitment of the South African community for the Women’s World Cup of Golf. This has meant so much to the LPGA and has helped bolster the event’s success in just a few short years."
Alexandra Armas, executive director of the Ladies European Tour, said: "The Women’s World Cup of Golf provides a wonderful start to the Ladies European Tour’s 2008 season. We are extremely excited to be returning to Sun City and would like to thank everyone who has helped to make this event such a great success.
"There will be an added element of pride as competitors are not only competing in teams but also for their respective countries. Best wishes to all of the players who have qualified for this prestigious event."
The 2008 event also welcomes a new sponsor in Clinique, who join leading South African brands such as Telkom Business; North West Province; Petro SA; Acer; Avis; Pam Golding International; Jenna Clifford; Birdi Clothing; Bell Dewar Hall; Coca-Cola; Sun City; Airports Media; Cross Pens; Raymond Weil; and the MediClinic Group.
Format of Play
The tournament will be a three-day, 54-hole competition. The first day’s play will consist of 18 holes of better ball competition (each team-mate playing her own ball, but at the end of each hole only the better score of the two team-mates is recorded).
On day two, 18 holes of foursomes competition (the two team-mates hitting alternate shot using the same ball, with one score recorded for the team at the end of each hole) will be played.
The third and final day will feature 18 holes of better ball competition (each team-mate playing her own ball, but at the end of each hole only the better score of the two team-mates is recorded).
The team with the lowest score, combining the scores on all three days, will be crowned champions.
In the event of two or more teams tied on the same score after the completion of regulation play, the winning team will be determined by means of a sudden death play-off.
The format of the play-off will be combined singles. Both players of the contending teams will play strokeplay with both scores to count on each hole. The team with the lowest score will be the winning team.