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Garcia boost for Spain at worlds

WORLD No. 5 Sergio Garcia will represent Spain for the fourth time in the US$5.5 million World Cup of Golf in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, later this year, organizers said yesterday.

The 29-year-old, who won the HSBC Champions in China last November to briefly take over the world No. 2 spot, will select his own teammate to take on 27 other nations at the Mission Hills club from November 26 to 29.

"There are always a lot of good teams at the World Cup. I think that the Swedish team, the defending champions, will be very good," the five-time Ryder Cup player said in a statement.

"The Americans always seem to bring a good solid team into the tournament. Australia, of course, is going to have a good one coming in. One of the Asian teams could be solid."

Swede Henrik Stenson, the world No. 7, has confirmed he will defend the title but he may have to choose a new partner as the 2008 European No. 1 Robert Karlsson might need to take the rest of the year off because of an eye problem.

The hopes of a first American win since Tiger Woods and Mark O'Meara's victory in 2000 will rest on the shoulders of world No. 34 Nick Watney and whoever he selects as his teammate.

One of the most exciting young talents in the game, Rory McIlroy, will play in the united Ireland team for the first time and has chosen fellow Ulsterman Graeme McDowell as his partner.

World No. 19 Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher return to southern China to represent England again after finishing sixth last year, while Martin Kaymer will be back flying the German flag.

Nineteen countries, including hosts China, have already secured their places in Shenzhen with nine more spots up for grabs at regional qualifiers.

The resplendent Mission Hills, which will host the World Cup for at least another decade, has 12 courses but the tournament will again be played on the championship layout designed by Garcia's compatriot Jose Maria Olazabal.

"The next time I see Jose Maria I'll probably ask him about the course," said Garcia, who played at the World Cup alongside Miguel Angel Jimenez in 2001, 2004 and 2005.

"I've seen a little bit of it on TV and I've heard good things about it ... I'm just hoping that my partner and I can do well and bring the victory to Spanish soil."


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