World Cup gets title sponsor, no longer part of WGC

VIRGINIA WATER, England -- The World Cup finally got a title
sponsor Monday, but the team event that has struggled to attract
top players from every country will no longer be part of the World
Golf Championships when it begins a 12-year deal in China.

Omega has agreed to be the title sponsor of the event that dates
to 1953 when it began as the Canada Cup. It will be held Nov. 22-25
on the Mission Hills Golf Club's Olazabal Course in Shenzhen.

The two-man team event began in 1953 as the Canada Cup and
attracted golf's greatest players, such as Peter Thomson of
Australia, Gary Player of South Africa and Seve Ballesteros of
Spain. Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer teamed to win four times for
the United States.

It became part of the WGC series in 2000, but after Tiger Woods
stopped playing in 2001, several countries had trouble getting
their best players to compete. The United States was represented
last year in Barbados by Stewart Cink and J.J. Henry, and only two
of the top 10 in the world -- Padraig Harrington of Ireland and
Luke Donald of England -- played last year.

The International Federation of PGA Tour, which consists of the
six major golf tours in the world, will sanction the $5 million
event, but it will not be part of the WGC series.

That means all the WGC events this year will be played in the
United States -- the Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona
next month, the CA Championship at Doral in Miami and the
Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone in Akron, Ohio.

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and European tour chief George
O'Grady said last fall that Mission Hills would host the World Cup
for two years, then get a World Golf Championship the following 10

It was not immediately clear how the announcement Monday affects
those plans.