JOHANNESBURG (23 November 2006) – The third Women’s World Cup of Golf will feature a mix of established stars and new talent on the fairways of the Gary Player Country Club in January.
South Africa will again be represented by the experienced Laurette Maritz and teenager Ashleigh Simon, with the latter fresh from leading her country to victory in the world Amateur Teams Championships.
All 22 countries have finalised their teams for the 19-21 January event at Sun City. American LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Famer Juli Inkster, English legend Laura Davies and the talented Carin Koch from Sweden have confirmed their participation.
Inkster is one of the most respected players in the women’s game and will team up with Pat Hurst, who has made over $1-million in earnings this season. Inkster’s career began in 1983, six years before South African Simon was born, when she was named Rookie of the Year.
Inkster, a mother of two teenage daughters, has multiple LPGA Tour victories to her name, adding another this season at the Safeway International. Renowned for her consistency and resilience, Inkster has also managed 12 top tens from 21 events in 2006.
Hurst’s consistency has been as impressive, and she earned her way on to the American team with 15 top 20 finishes.
The Americans finished fourth at the 2006 Women’s World Cup of Golf and will again be challenged by defending champions Sweden and inaugural winners Japan.
Sweden has selected Koch and Helen Alfredsson to defend the title they won at Sun City last year, while Japan will be represented by Momoko Ueda and Shinobu Moromizato.
Of the other countries taking part, Jennifer Rosales returns as the most experienced campaigner in the team from the Philippines.
The veteran English pair of Davies and Trish Johnson also bring a wealth of experience with them. Davies is ranked first on the Ladies European Tour, while Johnson, a Solheim Cup teammate of Davies, has accumulated an astonishing 101 top tens in her career.
Becky Brewerton and Becky Morgan, two highly accomplished players, have confirmed their participation for Wales, who ended third in 2006.
From an African perspective, Kenya will make their debut in the tournament in 2007. As part of the vision of the organisers to grow the game in Africa, the Kenyans were invited as official observers to the 2006 event.
Another first in 2007 will be the four development players who will take part in the official Pro-Am preceding the tournament.
Telecommunications giant Telkom has also confirmed a three-year sponsorship of the Women’s World Cup of Golf, which will play a key role in assisting the tournament to meet its charity objectives.
As part of several projects set up by the organisers, a craft market will be housed in the public village at next year’s event, where local crafters can sell their wares.
Another project encouraging youth involvement will see school choirs in the province hold a provincial “sing off” to win the right to sing at the opening ceremony.
And in partnership with Avis, rural woman in the North West province have been paid to grow 500 hanging baskets of flowers for the tee boxes at the course. These flowers will be sold off during the tournament to raise money for several worthwhile charities.
The funds from the tournament will also be used to build five houses in the province to house families suffering from HIV and AIDS.
The tournament is also fast becoming one of the biggest social events on the South African corporate calendar, and in 2007 official sponsor in Jenna Clifford is harnessing her association in joining with Olympic gold-medal-winning swimmer Ryk Neethling who will be amongst the celebrities attending.