The 2007 Women’s World Cup of Golf is set for an even more thrilling finish with a few changes being made to the set-up of the Gary Player Country Club course at Sun City for the January 19-21 showpiece.
The biggest change that will greet the players from 22 countries is the switching of the two nines to allow for the more spectacular par-five ninth hole, which requires two very good shots into an island green, to serve as the finishing hole.
“The ninth hole is a superior hole,” Lesley Copeman, the Tournament Director, said after this week’s site visit by the Women’s World Cup of Golf organisers and officials from the Ladies European Tour, one of the sanctioning tours for the $1.2-million event.
"This will make for a much more exciting finish. It gives the players a huge risk and reward now. It’s also a much more exciting hole in terms of providing a natural amphitheatre for spectators.”
The other significant change comes to the current par-four 17th, which will for this event play as the eighth hole. The tee here has been moved back 40 metres to bring the water more into play on the drives.
“It’s good to have a challenging hole midway through the course,” said Yvonne Cassidy, Tournament Director of the LET.
“It used to be the 17th and we wouldn’t have done this had the nines not been swapped around as it would have made it too risky being the second last hole in the round. It used to play as a really easy hole, with a sand wedge or half wedge in. By moving it back it will extend this to a seven or eight iron for most of the players.”
Other than these changes, both Copeman and Cassidy said the course should play very much the same as it did in the 2006 event, which was won by the Swedish duo of Annika Sorenstam and Liselotte Neumann.
“I believe it will be pretty similar to 2006. There are a couple of subtle changes apart from the reversing of the nines. Also, it will all depend on the weather and the condition of the rough. As we all know, the levelling factor at Sun City is the rough,” said Copeman.
The format of play has also been changed in order to speed up play, which was a problem in 2006.
The singles matches will now take place on the first day, with foursomes on day two and better ball on the third and final day.
“I sincerely hope the new format speeds up play,” said Cassidy. “I can’t understand why it was so slow last time. The Gary Player Country Club course is not a big ruling course, and the players are the best in the world.
“It’s no fun for spectators, media and players alike if the field is slow. The Ladies European Tour has introduced a change in the Pace of Play ruling. If the Pace of Play is slow the players get put on the clock immediately without a warning.”
For more information, including tour and corporate hospitality packages, visit www.womensworldcupofgolf.com.