Jeev Milkha Singh and Anthony Kim to play in Volvo World Match Play Championship

Jeev Milkha Singh and Anthony Kim have confirmed they will play in the 2009 Volvo World Match Play Championship at Finca Cortesin from the 29th October to 1st November.

Milkha Singh and Kim have taken up their places in the 16-man field which they qualified for as the highest ranked available players from Asia and the North America based upon the Official World Ranking as of 17th August and via the all new qualifying criteria – part of Volvo’s innovative ‘new look’ match play. They join Paul Casey, Retief Goosen, Camilo Villegas, Robert Allenby and Scott Strange who have already confirmed their entry into the 2009 Championship.

Jeev Milkha Singh, the 37-year-old Indian, who becomes the first player from the sub-continent to play in the professional golf’s longest-running match play championship explained why he is delighted to be playing, “I resurrected my career by winning two Volvo-sponsored events in 2006, the Volvo China Open and the Volvo Masters, which got me inside the top 50 in the world and qualified me for the ‘majors’ and WGC events. I owe a debt of gratitude to Volvo who were completely understanding when I was unable to defend my Volvo China Open title in 2007 because I had the opportunity to play in my first ‘major,’ the US Masters at Augusta and I have never forgotten that.”

He continued, “I view myself now as a truly global golfer and when I was advised that I qualified for the Volvo World Match Play Championship as the highest ranked available Asian player on the Official World Golf Rankings at the cut-off date immediately after the USPGA Championship, it left me with a big decision to make, to defend in Singapore or mix it with the world-class field in Spain”.

Commenting on the Indian’s decision to play the Volvo World Match Play Championship, Per Ericsson, President & CEO, Volvo Event Management (Golf) said, “This is tremendous news as Jeev Milkha Singh is a truly global ambassador for his sport and his country and everyone at Volvo is absolutely delighted not only that he has chosen to play at Finca Cortesín next month, but also his reasons for doing so”.

“Loyalty and integrity are key components of Volvo’s philosophy and to have that reciprocated by one of the world’s leading golfers is very encouraging indeed,” added Ericsson, concluding, “Jeev is a great role model for the thousands of young Indians who now see golf as a genuine career opportunity and as the first man from his nation in the 45-year history of this great event, he is a very welcome addition to what is fast becoming the best World Match Play Championship field for many years. We are also thrilled to be welcoming such an exciting young talent as Anthony Kim into the field.”

America’s Anthony Kim showed his stellar match play talents at the 2008 Ryder Cup when he won a crucial point for the USA in the singles on the final day. A two time winner on the US PGA Tour, Kim explained, “I really enjoy match play so I am delighted to qualify for the 2009 Volvo World Match Play Championship. It is going to be an exciting week. I’ve heard good things about Finca Cortesin, and there should definitely be some pretty exciting matches given the quality of the field.”

More player announcements will follow soon with the leading four players not otherwise qualified on the World Ranking as of the 28th September and the four leading players not otherwise qualified on the Race to Dubai Rankings as of the 5th October, all securing their places in the field.  With Ernie Els unable to defend his 2007 title, his place will automatically go to the highest ranked player on the Race to Dubai Ranking after the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Martin Kaymer currently occupies the top position and has confirmed that he will play if qualified and fully fit.

Ernie explained how disappointed he is to miss this year’s World Match Play event, “I have always loved playing the World Match Play Championship and winning it on seven occasions is one of the greatest feats of my career,” said Els, explaining, “However, I signed to play the Barclays Singapore Open long before it emerged that the date would coincide with the Volvo World Match Play Championship and it is important that contracts are honoured.”

Commented Per Ericsson, President & CEO, Volvo Event Management (Golf), “The clash of dates between the Volvo World Match Play Championship and the Barclays Singapore Open is unfortunate and one of its consequences is that the Volvo World Match Play Championship is, for contractual reasons, deprived of its defending champion Ernie Els, a man with whom this match play event has become synonymous. We thank Ernie for his ‘Good Luck ‘message and everyone associated with the Volvo World Match Play Championship wishes Ernie well in the Barclays Singapore Open.”

With a total prize fund of €3.25 million, and a first prize of €750,000, a place in the Volvo World Match Play Championship could significantly enhance a player’s position on the ‘Race to Dubai’, with all 16 players chasing a place in the end-of-season showpiece.

This is the 45th edition of the World Match Play Championship and will be Volvo’s first time as Championship partners with IMG, having hosted the 21st and final Volvo Masters at Club de Golf Valderrama in 2008.  The Finca Cortesín event is Volvo’s 120th title sponsorship in professional golf.

The Championship will be held in Spain for the first time in its history moving from Wentworth Club as 16 of the world’s best players go head-to-head in classic match play golf over the magnificent 7,439-yard course at Finca Cortesin designed by Cabell B Robinson.

The winner of each group will qualify for the semi finals which, along with the final, will be played over 36 holes in traditional and compelling head-to head-match play golf, considered by many to be the purest form of the Royal and Ancient game.