Melbourne, Sep 18 (IANS): Graeme McDowell has set his sights on becoming Northern Ireland’s first winner of the World Cup of Golf since 1997 when he tees up at the 57th edition of the event at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club here from Nov 21-24.
McDowell is the latest name to commit to the event along with current Asian Tour No.1 Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand who is looking forward to teaming up again with compatriot Thongchai.
Kiradech has enjoyed an outstanding season thus far. He won the Malaysian Open and registered four other top-10s and a tied 25th finish at the US PGA Championship.
“I remember playing in my first World Cup with Thongchai in 2011. It was my first time playing in the World Cup and was a good experience for me. Since then, I’ve became a better player. Playing in big events only improves your game and you can get better,” said Kiradech.
“I’ve learnt a lot since my World Cup debut and I have gone on to win the 2013 Malaysia Open. It was an important win for me as it showed that I can win against the big players. I’m better prepared now and looking ahead to Melbourne.”
Current World No.11 McDowell came agonisingly close to winning the 2009 World Cup of Golf when he and playing partner Rory McIlroy finished joint runners-up with Sweden behind Italy’s victorious Molinari brothers, Edoardo and Francesco.
The 34-year-old McDowell from Portrush claimed his second US PGA Tour victory at the RBC Heritage in April, defeating fellow Major champion Webb Simpson of the United States with a par on the first extra hole of the sudden death play-off.
He then returned to Europe in May and added to his collection of European Tour titles with victory in the World Match Play Championship at the expense of Thongchai Jaidee. One month after his win in Bulgaria, McDowell promptly secured his ninth European Tour title with a four-shot victory in the Alstom Open de France.
“I’ve won three times this year so it has to go down as a great season and it’d be great to round it off by playing well at the World Cup of Golf. The format here has changed slightly this year but it still retains that team element,” said McDowell.
American Matt Kuchar and Italian Matteo Manassero have also committed to compete in the World Cup of Golf.Published 18 Sep 2013, 14:25 IST