Garcia Jimenez Look to Avenge 04 Loss


2005 Algarve World Cup in PortugalVILAMOURA, Portugal -- Sergio Garcia and Miguel Angel Jimenez are determined to make amends for losing the World Cup by a stroke last year before their home fans in Spain.
Weve got a bit of bone stuck in our throat and we want to take it out of there, Garcia said Wednesday. It would have been a wonderful thing to do that last year with so many people following us.
Miguel Angel Jimenez and Sergio Garcia
Miguel Angel Jimenez and Sergio Garcia came up just short at the 2004 World Cup.
The event has moved a few hundred miles across the border to Portugal, where defending champion England is favored. Luke Donald led England to last years title in the event'the last of the four World Golf Championships. He picked David Howell as his partner this year, replacing lower-ranked Paul Casey.
Almost a dozen top U.S. players declined invitations. Stewart Cink'ranked No. 25 -- accepted and picked Zach Johnson as his partner. Japan, Denmark and Australia also are missing top players.
With nontraditional golfing countries represented'including India, Taiwan and Singapore'the tournament has a relaxed atmosphere.
Events like this are fun, it breaks up the monotony, Cink said. Its a little more laid back. But it wont be without pressure.
Played late in the season and usually outside the United States, the World Cup offers an interesting format but has trouble attracting all the top golfers'despite a $1.4 million payoff for the winning team.
It think that is probably because its a long season over there, Cink said. Every year when we go overseas, or when theres a Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup'these World Golf Championships events'they always ask the same thing: Why dont the Americans come overseas more?
This year, Im glad they didnt.
Although its a stroke-play event, the 24 teams play in a match-play format: fourball (best ball) on Thursday and Saturday, and the more difficult foursomes (alternate shot) on Friday and Sunday.
A year ago, Donald and Casey were 30-under over the four rounds, which included a round of 11-under 61. The scores might be even lower this year on the Arnold Palmer-designed Victoria Clube de Golfe course on Portugals southern Algarve coast.
You wouldnt have thought you could get into too much trouble on this course, Donald said.
In agreement was Howell, who beat Tiger Woods by three strokes Sunday to win the HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai, China.
Its very pleasant, not overly difficult, Howell said. Theres going to be a birdie fest. And thats probably not a bad way to have it.
Only wind and rain'which are forecast for the weekend'could send scores soaring on the 7,174-yard, par-72 layout. Though the course is a few miles from water, the flat terrain off this part of the Atlantic often is buffeted by a stiff breeze.
If the wind doesnt blow, I think there will be lots of birdies, Cink said.
Cink said he picked Johnson'ranked 49th'partly because he narrowly missed making the Presidents Cup in September. Jack Nicklaus chose Justin Leonard and Fred Couples as his captains picks.
Unfortunately this year Zach got left out, and so I did think he deserved a chance to play for the United States, Cink said.
Related links:
  • Full Coverage - Algarve World Cup

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