McDowell aims to restore World Match Play to former glories

Tue Oct 14, 2014 3:07pm EDT
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By Tony Jimenez

ASH England (Reuters) - Title holder Graeme McDowell is a man on a mission this week -- to restore much-needed luster to the World Match Play Championship at the London Club.

The 50th anniversary edition of the tournament has failed to attract the 'A-list' golfers, with world number one Rory McIlroy, third-ranked Sergio Garcia and number six Justin Rose among those missing.

The greatest names in the game, players like Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Nick Faldo, Greg Norman and Seve Ballesteros, feature on the roll of honor but the 16-man event has lost its identity in recent times.

The iconic West Course at Wentworth staged the championship from 1964-2007. Since then it has been to Spain and Bulgaria, it even disappeared from the calendar in 2008 and 2010, and McDowell has welcomed the move back to the south of England.

"I believe this is a step in the right direction, coming back to London," the world number 18 told a news conference on the eve of the event.

"When you look at the trophy and the names on it, this tournament deserves a great spot in the calendar. It deserves a quality venue like this one this week.

"This event needs to be reinstated to its former glory and we'll do everything we can to support that."

This is the final year of Volvo's sponsorship and McDowell does not want the World Match Play to disappear from the calendar again.   Continued...

European Ryder Cup player Graeme McDowell hits out of a bunker on the third hole during the 40th Ryder Cup singles matches at Gleneagles in Scotland September 28, 2014.  REUTERS/Russell Cheyne